Monday, April 8, 2013

A Very Millinery Matter

Sunday nights have just not been the same since Matthew’s fatal car accident in the Season 3 finale of “Downton Abbey.”   Honestly, I never saw it coming and, apparently, neither did he. 

Of course, I still make my usual special Sunday dinner, but ooooh how we looked forward to 9:00 pm, by which time we were ready to savor our aged stilton, ruby port and the next delicious episode of the lives and loves of the Crawley Clan. 



Last weekend, Masterpiece Theater began its new Sunday night series, “Mr. Selfridge,” about the American entrepreneur who established Selfridge’s Department Store in 19th Century London and, in so doing, forever changed the shopping habits of women everywhere. 

I found the first episode somewhat interesting and waited to be drawn into the lives of the Selfridges and their employees.  After watching last night’s episode, I can only say that I am still waiting. 

While some of the ancillary characters caught my attention and there were some tantalizing glimpses into the revolutionary marketing strategies he employed (such as moving perfume counters to the front of the store, which had never been done before), too much time was spent on Mr. Selfridge’s tawdry affair with a music hall singer of dubious character and even more dubious vocal talent. 

It’s obvious that a great deal of money was spent on the making of “Mr. Selfridge,” but so far, at least, it all feels a bit cheap and superficial to me.  The wardrobes of the upper-class ladies look more like costumes than clothes they might actually have worn and lack the richness of fabric and exquisite detail of the ladies of Downton Abbey. 

And then there are the hats…..  The ladies’ hats in “Mr. Selfridge” are huge, over-the-top and look as if they could only be worn by Las Vegas showgirls. 

Not so in “Downton Abbey.”  Here are a few of my favorites: 

A Very Millinery Moment

 
 
 
The hats worn by the ladies of Downton Abbey are not only magnificent works of art, they look eminently wearable.
 
And what I wouldn’t give to wear one of them…..if only for a few hours!!! 
 
It would be a dream come true! 
 
Actually, I did have a little Downton Abbey moment last spring. 

 
 
 
Every year, St. Mary’s Catholic Home, where my Mother lives, has a Mother’s Day party.  Last year, there was an exhibit of Victorian wedding gowns provided by a woman named Johanna. 
 
Not only does Johanna design wedding gowns for the modern woman and costumes for Broadway, but she has an extensive collection of vintage clothes, which she exhibits around the country. 
 
We sat, fascinated, as Johanna explained the history of each piece. 
 
She chose a few young ladies to model some of the wedding gowns, then picked up this gorgeous blue hat, turned to me and said, “I think we need a bridesmaid.  You have a vintage face, would you like to be our bridesmaid?” 
 
I did wince a bit at the words “vintage face,” since it’s not something a woman of my age likes to hear, but one look at that hat and I knew that this was my Downton Abbey moment. 

 
  

Some lucky bridesmaid wore this gorgeous confection in the late 1800s.  Although it looks light as a feather, it is actually quite heavy and would have required numerous hat pins to stay solidly in place. 
 
I like to think that she had a sweet, young face and was dreaming of her own wedding as she stood next to the bride. 
 
Whoever she was, I am grateful to her for my Downton Abbey moment. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For more information on Johanna, contact her at:  JoBoutShowtime@aol.com


12 comments:

  1. What fun to wear an antique bridesmaid's hat. You look lovely in it. Oh, and by a "vintage face" I would take it to mean classic so you would suit any style of hat - definitely not that other kind of vintage face ;)

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    Replies
    1. Truly it was the most beautiful hat I have ever worn. I did think about the young woman who first wore it and what she must have been like.

      Merci beaucoup for your interpretation of "vintage face." I like your take on it much better than my own.

      I know you are a big "Downton Abbey" fan. I hope you have a Downton Abbey moment in your life.

      Cheers, M-T

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  2. Well, look at you, my dear M-T, ready for your close up in Downton Abbey! What character would you play? A distant cousin, raised in France than in the United States? As such, you would probably get to spar with Lady Grantham. How fun! Thank you for the review of Selfridge. I had been wondering about that show. I guess it is not that great, is it? A little too shallow maybe? Keep us posted if you keep watching. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

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    1. I'm too old to be a cousin, but "oh la la," I LOVE the idea of being a long-lost Auntie. I think Shirley Maclaine (Lady Crawley's American mother) needs to reunite with her younger sister (we both have red hair), who, as you suggest, has been raised in France, then moved to the US after an unhappy love affair with a French count and, "peut-être" there was a love child? There's the long-lost cousin.

      Qu'en penses-tu?

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  3. You look lovely! The hat frames your face perfectly. I also think 'vintage face' means not overly made up and classicly beautiful. Of course, at our age we are preprogrmmaned to think the worst. Thank you society.

    I, too, tried to watch Selfrideg's and will not be returning. I think to 'tide me over' I'll stick with 'Call the Midwife'.

    Warmly, Kathleen

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    Replies
    1. Dear Kathleen, I may give "Mr. Selfridge" one more try to win me over (I don't like to give up on people); however, I'll definitely give "Call the Midwife" a try at your suggestion.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such a charming comment.

      Cheers, M-T

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  4. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    You know my favorite great-aunt (Oud-Tante) Nelly had such a Millinery store in my home town. As a little girl I pressed my nose against the window for having a peak inside... It always has drawn my attention; especially for all the beautiful lace work and beading etc.
    So glad I found another Francophile that loves them as much as I do.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    Replies
    1. Dear Mariette, I am delighted you found me, thanks to my dear friend, Véronique (French Girl in Seattle).

      It appears we are kindred spirits in more matters than merely millinery.

      Bisous, M-T

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    2. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
      It made my day for finding you! Already enjoy for quite a while reading Véronique, who happened to study as a Georgia Rotary Student Program recipient in Atlanta and sure, our cultures have so much French.
      Have a great day and sure we will stay in touch!
      Hugs,
      Mariette

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    3. That would be lovely, Mariette. I look forward to our next cyberchat.

      Bisous, M-T

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  5. Aren't the hats delicious. I am really liking Call the Midwife, and I am trying to like Mr. Selfridge.

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    Replies
    1. Delicious is the perfect word, Ms. Lemon. Another vote for "Call the Midwife." I'll definitely have to give it a try.

      Please let me know if you like "Mr. Selfridge."

      Thanks for taking the time to stop and by and leave a comment.

      Regards, M-T

      Delete

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