The Queen of the Met Costume Institute: Rita de Acosta Lydig

[This is a short biography on a woman impacting history. Please subscribe for email updates on when more biographies, or historical heroine related posts, appear on the blog, and follow the instagram @lilhaggis for more.]

The Met Costume Institute is literally my Sunday go-to. I can scrawl for hours and hours in my cosy bed, and stories and adventures unfold through each piece in their archives, transporting me into a little pocket of time elsewhere.

Little did I know, until recently, that their foundations came from a truly opulent closet, belonging to one Rita de Acosta Lydig; diva, muse, fashionista, suffragette supporter, and the “most picturesque woman in America”. She was a New Yorker, born on 1 October 1875 to Cuban and Spanish parents, and sister to 7 other siblings, and she grew up to become an influential figure within art and fashion in Paris, London and NYC. Rita’s story, and her wardrobe, scream that bitch, have massive Libra energy and I live for it!

Continue reading The Queen of the Met Costume Institute: Rita de Acosta Lydig

Love Is In the Eye of the Beholder: A love-letter to a beautiful Georgian Era trend.

Have you ever been stumped on a gift for your significant other? What to get for a loved one who has everything already? How about something more intimate than a pair of new socks? Something that discreetly says “I love you, I’m yours” better than any Ferrero Roche and a box set of Game of Thrones can…

Continue reading Love Is In the Eye of the Beholder: A love-letter to a beautiful Georgian Era trend.

A moment in Hair-Story: The Guillotine Haircut

Introducing the macabre OG pixie cut, and a ticket to the most exclusive ball in town. The Guillotine Haircut was fashionable among men and women whose relatives had been escorted up creaky wooden steps to the guillotine. Before their loved ones were dispatched, their hair was roughly cut by the executioner – using a comb called a cadenette – to avoid any interference with the smooth cut of the blade.

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On the Wings of Beetles: An ode to one of the most beautiful trends in Victorian Fashion.

Victorian Dress embellished with the wings of Jewel Beetles.

The Victorian Era was not an overtly ostentatious time for fashion, with its ankle-length skirts, poke bonnets and full-sleeved dresses. The monarch, whom the era took its name from, dressed very modestly and didn’t wear makeup – a far cry from her predecessors (looking at you Queen Elizabeth I). Women were expected to follow her lead to achieve the perfect picture of grace, beauty and maternity – as well as to protect themselves from lustful men, in case they became too beautiful and attracted unwanted advances.

It was restrictive, uncomfortable and often dismal dressing in the 1800’s, and while a modest life was the ideal, exotic tastes were common at the time and often seen as romantic, whimsical even. Take for example one of my favourite trends from this period, adapted from Asian fashion that had been practiced in places like Myanmar and Thailand for centuries before the Victorians stumbled across it; Beetlewing.

Continue reading On the Wings of Beetles: An ode to one of the most beautiful trends in Victorian Fashion.