Saturday, 7 September 2013

Agatha Christie and Art Deco History Wardrobe

The East Yorkshire Embroidery Society had Lucy Adlington of The History Wardrobe as a speaker and it was so wonderful that we wanted her back again. (check her out )The first of The History Wardrobe talks we heard was the Titanic. Lucy was brilliant as a lady in First Class comparing and contrasting her experience with a 3rd class passenger.
Some of the members of the Embroidery Society are members of St Mary's Church Cottingham and the fund raisers there decided to raise funds by having Lucy come give one of her talks. The Fabulous Fifties (see post 9-9-12) dresses and accessories filled the stage and Lucy again had us all in stitches.
The church again arranged a fund raiser....Agatha Christie and Art Deco.....
The presentation mixed facts about Agatha's life before writing her novels and how she came to write them with authentic clothes from the period and how Agatha used clothing as clues in her books....bring to life people in the story and especially to unmask the murderer. Using a literary list of does and do's and don'ts to help writers write a crime novel Lucy showed how Agatha broke most of them.... Lucy presented several character types that Agatha uses in her novels and changes clothes to present them. The "Bright Young Thing" usually female....The commandeering, officious "Committee Lady" and so on. The character types and their traits, props used in murders and which novel they were from ...etc were woven into the presentation seamlessly.
The dress on the right is shapeless...until worn and it hangs beautifully....decorated with ribbon, woven where it crosses at the dropped waist line. This was worn with a coat again trimmed with ribbon and looked stunning on. The large pockets were placed across the sides of the coat. When worn it gave a slightly masculine, almost air of military look. It was a fashion created at the time of the Zeppelin Raids of the Great War......massive pockets to fill with essentials in a raid.....Lucy wore this dress and coat with a dark hat jammed on her head, brown framed spectacles and sensible shoes...and strode on the stage purposefully...the epitome of ......the committee lady.....the woman who got things done.......
                                                    the pocket
                                                     the sleeve

The bright young thing.....wore Charleston Dresses with beaded panels 
All these dresses are see through and have to be worn with a slip for modesty and to highlight the dress. This one has a fine silk under slip with Japanese chrysanthemums pattern which highlights the Oriental interest of the times.
this dress was cut on the bias, exquisitely sewn...handkerchief points and lots of covered buttons
one of the murders was committed by getting the victim to swallow hat dye "by mistake" for some restorative cordial they normally kept on the bedside table....The straw hat above has been home dyed  

The wonderful thing is that all the artifacts that Lucy brings....... can be handled !
In the suitcase is a tucked and folded Jennie Rayment style colourful bag. draped across the top is a sequined top.Below, magazines with the latest fashions...send for the patterns....and a pair of embroidered shoes.

The good news is that EYES has engaged Lucy for another of her presentations in our next seasons list of speakers... Yeh !
So between St Mary's Church Cottingham and EYES .....if they book a presentation each year....I will have over 5 more years worth to look forward to !!
It is really more of a one woman show presenting the lives of woman through clothes with a factual and comedic delivery....well worth travelling to see.