The last few weeks have been rather hectic and busy. I was working on the summer project and for the past two weeks I have been spending time with my cousin, who was visiting from Poland.
Summer Project first.
I carried out a little bit more research and got interested in the fashion of Lilliputs and the Giants from Gulliver’s first two voyages, as well as the perspective of Lilliputs towards Gulliver and how did that affected him when he landed in Brobdingnag, where he was the Lilliput.
One of the points to research were the miniature villages located in Britain.
Each building in those villages has to be renovated and re-painted once a year, something more often, due to weathering out and being exposed to thousands of people trampling around. When you add the snow and the rain to that, you can start imagining how expensive in finance, time and effort such a village is.
This article on BBC has helped quite a bit in locating them. 🙂
Okay, so let’s move towards fashion.
In the book, Gulliver described Lilliput’s fashion as that between the British and East Asia. We need to remember that the action in the book takes place in 1700’s. Therefore, I have researched the clothes and symbolism for patterns around that time in Britain, France, Japan, South Korea and most important China, as during the 16th-19th century it was the Chinese culture and society that greatly impacted the western world, though Japan also had it’s shine in this period.
The main part of a woman’s clothing was the hoop- known as pannier, this whalebone (or metallic) ring was worn to create the illusion of dilated hips, which resulted in a dome-shaped structure to the skirt worn over the hoop. Most women wore a corset to slim the waist. Then the petticoat, which covered the hoop and corset, but also was used as a under layer to the proper dress.
The hairstyle around the time of action-1700’s, was the high comb. Usually over a padded roll or worn over a frame.
All clothing and accessories have been embroidered to a high level. Clothes were produced from silk and linen.
Men wore a linen shirt with frills at the wrists, covering the under drawers (something like under shirt). Next came on a vest or a long waistcoat, then they put on knee breeches to show off the legs, covered in stockings (white) and their leather shoes with stacked heels. The most visible layer was the full-skirted, knee-length coat. British men o this time wore shoulder-length, full-bottomed wig (we can see remains of this fashion sense in some Supreme Courts) and a tricorne (three cornered) hat with an upturned brim.
As the century progressed, dresses, coats and breeches lost a few inches in their length. Shoes became low heeled, while the wigs were used for formal occasions only.
The Chinese elite (royalty, high and middle class) wore robes wrapped around the body, tied close to the waist sash. Depending on the length, they were worn without the undergarments (coming down to the ankles) or over trousers/skirt (thigh length).
Both sexes wore skirts, as well as they bound their hair up in a topknot and covered it with either a head cloth or a hat.
While women favored highly colorful silk cloth, men proffered somber and plain cloths, however both were intricate in their pattern embroidery.
The Chinese commoners (working class) wore short robes or jackets over trousers or leggins.
Women wore skirts, whereas men wore loincloth as a lower garment. A change came with the cavalry, which introduced short wrapped jackets and short robes worn over trousers for common men.
Japanese men on the other hand wore long robes or shorter baggy trousers. Women, though wore multiple layers of wrapped robes, cut to reveal each layer beneath the last.The introduction of kimonos, widened the gap between the wealthy, aristocracy and samurais, and the commoners of Japan. Kimonos were often embroidered at the nape of the neck with the family’s crest.
The Chinese leaned towards colours of red, green and light blue, whereas Japanese people took to indigo dye.
I also looked at the symbols and patterns within both cultures.
The Chines clothes were often embroidered with sakura (charry) trees and dragons, on the other hand Japanese patterns included cranes and turtles as the symbols of long life and good luck, as well as the sea bream fish, symbolising happiness.
One flower that is a recurring pattern in 1700’s Japan is a chrysanthemum, of which there are over 150 patterns.
Okay, so here are some of the works that I have created based on my research.
Moving on to personal life. As I mentioned my cousin came visiting from Poland. She flied home yesterday evening.
I like spending time with her, because we both like Harry Potter and have a similar taste for books, although I think there is a big gap between us, due to me being 4 years older and being more stuck up than her.
We got to talk a little over the past two weeks, watched quite a number of horror movies together (still got bruises from Friday evening, watching Conjuring and Annabelle). My sister took us and her friend to Weatherspoons pub for a few drinks. (I stuck to apple juice). They went a little wild with it, but none of them had a massive hangover. 🙂 I also got to spend few days with her by myself, since her dad worked the past week.
On Monday we went ice skating at the Altrincham Silver Blades rink. It was a first time for me and I was just glad not to fall over even once, although we didn’t escape unscathed, as when I tried stopping once skated right into her, sliding one of the skates into her leg, but thankfully she wasn’t injured, only a little pained at the hit. The other time, she tumbled into me and I smashed my forearm into the rink wall, which wasn’t nice, but nothing much more than that didn’t happen.
On Tuesday, we have decided to go swimming at the local pool and we both ended up with the first stage of a cold, which got worse on Thursday when we were meant to go to Liverpool. I had to cancel those plans.
On Wednesday, my cousin joined my sister and our parents at the Graduation Ceremony in Preston, where my sister has received her degree. (SO PROUD OF HER! :D)
While they were in Preston, I was decorating the house with banners and balloons, her face when she walked through the door was priceless. Afterwards, we went for a family dinner to Weatherspoons.
The last two days we have spent just talking, playing and cooking.
I will miss her, but hopefully I will get to see her in November.
So, that’s it. Hope you guys have a good summer! 😀