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Couture Historical Bridal Gowns Charles II Period Costume

gold-pink shot silk corseted costume with front lacing

Claire approached Rossetti with a vast range of inspiring source material: from pirate films to glassware!
(see below). She loved the style of Keira Knightley's plum-coloured buccaneer gown in "The Curse of the Black Pearl", but wasn't convinced about the suitability of the tone for her own colouring.

Charles II style period costume or alternative wedding dress in pink/ orange silk over white with front lacing

On looking through potential silks, the client fell in love with a stunning pink/ gold combination. This silk varied from a muted pale gold/ pink in natural daylight to a rich orange in artificial light! Reminiscent of the famous costume, (worn by another Claire!) in "Stage Beauty", the fabric's name of "Treasure" sealed the choice: what could be better for a pirate gown?

back view of Charles II gown with hand-pleated skirt close-up sleeve pleating fitted pink/gold silk bodice with hand-pleated skirt

front-laced corset bodice orange period gown lacing-detail - can be embroidered pink-gold silk seventeenth century dress

It helps to be reasonably tall (5' 4" minimum?) to carry off a gown of this styling. 21st century brides struggle with the concept of more fabric in one sleeve than the entire bodice! However, for re-enactors like Claire, it was a shape so "of the period" that she clearly revelled in it! (And big sleeves and skirts do make waists appear tiny...!)

17th century dress with lace cuffs corseted bodice with laced front  detail of lace edge on restoration style 1660's dress

This style of Restoration dress is very easy to wear. The entire costume consists of one large (but light) petticoat, an underskirt (the white silk), then the gown itself. This is as easy to put on as a coat, because it fastens at the front. All the white parts showing through the bodice: front, neck and cuffs (to represent what would have been a shift as bulky as full length nightdress), are false. Theatrical artistic licence is permissable if we are not aiming at an accurate reproduction! The bodice itself is boned, so that there is no need for a seperate corset. This is authentic to the period.

This was such a lovely dress to work on during a grey dull February. It is a ridiculouly sunny, cheering colour!

Seventeenth century source material - from Pirates of the Caribbean, Stage Beauty, and the Rijks museum Pink-gold-orange source material - a Marigold Carnival Glass bowl, a Rossetti tutu, Lord Leighton's Flaming June and lustre glassware

Claire's source material varied across the seventeenth century from the 1630's to the Restoration. In honour of the House of William of Orange, many paintings of the period are appropriately toned. (Those that aren't, subtly include the actual fruit!) The client was adamant she did not want a flat colour, and expressed her wishes with images of beautiful lustre glass and the shot chiffons used on a Rossetti tutu.

A copy of the original design is now held in the Rossetti Studio as a sample gown - size 10/12 approx.

pink-gold seventeenth century period gown with lace sleeve cuffs

 Treasure Gown Copyright © 2008-2009 Theresa Blake. All Rights Reserved.