3. Austen herself practiced slow fashion
It's an attitude in vogue today that has a precedent. Jonathan Walford, curatorial director of Canada's Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario, curates their latest exhibition "Jane Austen's World" (on until December 17, 2017) and features several antique dresses from the period and many accessories like shoes, hats, fans and bonnets that demonstrate how surprisingly wearable Regency fashion was in the brief time after the French Revolution and before the Victorian era.
With high waist, narrow skirt and minimal corseting the classical Grecian style develops and the silhouette stays that way for 15 years. "One thing I'm doing in the exhibition is mirroring it with 1992 to today," he explains. "Because like Austen's era of 1792-1817, things in fashion have fundamentally stayed kind of the same. I think part of that there has been so much emphasis on everything else changing — they were so focused on the Napoleonic Wars and their own advances in machinery, the Luddidte Revolution. And since they're at war with France, you don't get fashion information from Paris. On gowns between 1805 and 1811, you often can't tell the difference!"
"Women in Canada didn't want to appear colonial," Wolford adds. "So the only difference in styles between England to Canada was however long it took for information to get across the Atlantic." Accordingly, the show also displays the oldest known Canadian dress in the Museum's 15,000-piece archives: an 1816 wedding dress from Quebec City, dressmaker-made from imported embroidered Indian cotton. It would be right at home in the wardrobe of Anne Elliott or Emma Woodhouse.
Copyright 2017 ZoomerMedia Limited