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I was thinking about the Victorian & Albert Museum earlier, and especially about a particular section of the costume collection: the Heather Firbank dresses.

She was of a well-to-do family and was quite fashionable and chic in her day.

For example, this is a mourning dress. An extremely stylish, even kind of sexy mourning dress. I wonder if it was from the Black Ascot…?

This gorgeous Redfern gown is also a mourning design – to be worn in a later stage of mourning, when deep colours could be integrated into one’s wardrobe.

This is an attractive summer dress from about five years before the mourning dress above. Constructed of a mid-weight blue-and-white striped cotton, it is liberally garnished with the fluffy frilly so typical of the first 5-7 years of the 20th Century.

Here’s an attractive tailleur from circa 1910. I love that broad, slightly droopy notched collar and the low-waisted blouson effect to the jacket. I feel like this silhouette portends the fashions of the early 1920s fairly strongly.

When the movie “Titanic” came out, I was highly impressed with the costuming, noting that they totally nailed a difficult transitional period in ladies’ fashions. This Lucille gown is typical of trendsetters of that time period and typical in silhouette to the dresses shown in Titanic. Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon, the brains behind the Lucille label, sailed on (and survived) the Titanic.

Another summer day dress, this one 7-8 years older than the blue stripe above. This one is cut with a nautical insinuation, of heathered blue linen, perhaps a nod to the owner’s name.

On this particular page, a light purple linen, trimmed with crochet lace and covered buttons is highlighted. The text proclaims that, indeed, Miss Firbank favored “heather tones” as a kind of play upon her own name.

This smart golfing ensemble would make an attractive street costume today. The Norfolk jacket is a clever design which has become a classic.

Another Lucile ensemble seems to tell the future. A day would come, in the not-too-distant-future, when Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel would make tweedy cardigan suits the uniform of choice for well-heeled ladies everywhere.

Apropos of nothing to do with Heather Firbank at all, but pertinent to my interests take a look at these fantastic boots of a similar era to many of the dresses above. These boots are so fab, it just kind of defies words. If this was a boot for sale today, I would completely find a way to buy a pair. Those are SO cute.

2 Responses to “Heather Firbank – Edwardian Fashionista Extraordinare:”

  1. Nellig says:

    Oh, that first mourning gown…. Can’t get over how elegant.

    Loved this post. I had no idea there was such brilliant stuff in the V&A.

  2. Meetzorp says:

    Man, there is no end to the awesomeness contained within the V&A. I was only there once, for a Saturday. I could have gone every weekend for a year and probably not have seen everything there. But I did see Dior’s original New Look suit and Courrèges’ Mondrian dresses and a kickass Japanese painting from the 1700s with a bunch of skeletons disporting themselves in a mountainous scene.

    All of which were well worth the price of admission if you ask me!

    Also a crap-ton of Renaissance weaponry, much of which was quite, quite decorative.

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