the kyoto costume institute

Jeweled heels


These are Art Deco period heels referred to as “jeweled heels”. They are a sample from a time when heels were custom-ordered. With enamel manufacturing put to practical use on shoes since the end of the 18th century, and the implementation of Bakelite and similar resin treatments in 1909, the heels radiate a glossy shine. Moreover, they show the subtle workmanship of geometric designs, and limestone and metal bead application, At that time in Paris, couturier and artisans specializing in custom-order footwear created luxurious shoes. Craftsmen who signed their names on shoe designs, like Andre Perugia, also appeared. Then, in the 1920s, Western European women began exposing the leg below the knees for the first time. When compared to the existence of footwear up until that period, this becomes an important matter. Shoes which utilize functionality paired with small engraved designs and various historic moldings. Of these shoes, 1920s footwear that reflects art deco designs can be said to exhibit a special charm equal to a kind of objet d'art.

The Kyoto Costume Institute

Photo by Takashi Hatakeyama


I know I am kind of late, but now that Prince is gone (WTF 2016?! FIRST BOWIE! THEN RICKMAN! NOW PRINCE! JUST STOP ALREADY!!) let’s remember that one of his principal fashion influences was the 18th century menswear. And what a way to wear it: it was the 80s and 90s, the cravats were acceptable and the purple suits were a must for this gorgeous macaroni prince. So, let’s take a look at 18th century purple menswear from Prince to Hamilton, from brocades to velvets.

Photos from top:

  1. Prince performs at the Forum in Inglewood, California on February 18th 1985.
  2. Coat, waistcoat and breeches, mid 18th century, Kyoto Costume Institute.
  3. Formal suit in purple silk, 1770-1780, Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
  4. Court dress coat, 1785-1790, England, Victoria & Albert Museum.
  5. Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton, costume design by Paul Tazewell.
  6. Purple and black brocade suit, French, 1780-90, Met Museum.
  7. Miniature of Charles-Claude de Flahaut, ca. 1779, Jean-Baptiste Weyler, Victoria & Albert Museum.
  8. Embroidered panels for a man’s suit, French, 1780s, Met Museum.
  9. Still from Marie Antoinette (2006), costume design by Milena Canonero.

rienerose  asked:

I have a new ball-jointed-doll that I am planning to have be my model Christine. Unfortunately, finding appropriate clothing for her is extremely difficult. I am going to have to have some made, I think, and while I can find a lot of information about Victorian England, Belle-Epoch France is somewhat more difficult to research! So, I am asking you, as you are the expert! (continued on message 2)

2) What would Christine have worn? Did women of her age, time period, and social class only wear dresses, or wear skirts and blouses, perhaps with a jacket as well? Shoes only, or boots? Cloaks or coats? What would she wear at home–was there an equivalent of the Victorian “tea gown”? Corsets always? Pantalettes? Chemises? Hats? What kind of stockings? Were there any color restrictions? Any information you can give me would be gratefully appreciated! Thanks!

OoOooh, the 1860s-1890s is a surprisingly hard period to summon up in a short reply. I’ll do my best still! 

A woman’s wardrobe of the second half of the 19th century would of course depend on her class. The higher the class, the more changes a day, and the more specific the garments. Queen Maud of Norway, and also her mother Queen Alexandra, is said to have changed clothes up to 7 times a day: morning wear, sportswear, walking suits, teagowns, dinner dresses, opera attires, maybe also additional representation wear and/or ball gowns. Lower classes changed less times a day, but wearing two different attires for day and evening was quite common. You changed for dinner if you had any kind of manners! 

Christine is a bit of an in-betweener, class wise, at least in the first half of the story/show. She’s an orphan, she is a working girl in a semi-respectable profession. At the same time she’s under the wings of Mama Valerius, whose late husband was a professor, and who seems to have had some funding she did not mind spending on Christine. So she’s not an aristrocrat or rich burgeroise mademoiselle, but not a poor one either. She would probably try and keep up with fashion, but wear practical stuff for work. Wools instead or silk, or at least not lots of drapes and decorations and huge bustles. 

Christine’s wardrobe would most likely consist of (from inner to outer): chemises/shifts/blouses, bloomers and stockings, corsets, bodice and skirt. For outdoor use she would also wear a hat and a cloak or jacket/dolman, plus gloves and shoes/boots. The fashion in Paris did not differ from that in London in this aspect, except brits always considered Parisian fashion to be more impractival and frilly. But also smarter.

The most common combo of the mid/late 19th century was a fitted bodice with matching skirt. The skirt could have various drapes and trains - the more extravagant occasion, the more extravagant skirt. Evening bodices would show cleavage and often bare arms, while day bodices were often long-sleeved and high-necked. Some tailors made two separate day + evening bodices for the same skirt (transofrmation dresses), so you could mix and match. Here’s a green 1860s example, and here’s an 1872 dress by Charles Frederick Worth with evening bodice, day bodice and detachable train (from The Met): 

Another popular transformation thing was to fill in the neckline during the day, and open it up a bit for later in the evening, to wear it as a dinner dress or similar. Though this doesn’t show the same dress, you get the main idea: 

To see more period wear, here’s a link showing fashionable garments from 1870-90, from the Kyoto Costume Institute:

If you can get a hold of their (very reasonable and popular) Taschen-published book as well, you’ll see lots more examples with accessories, and a majority of them are French. Albeit they show finer upper class attires for the most, they are good examples of typical silhouettes and ideals, and shows what every Parisian lady would strive for. The skirt-and-blouse combo would not be terribly fashionable in Paris at this point. It came into fashion in the 1890s and onwards; before that it was considered a more rural style. So I wouldn’t dress Christine in that unless it was to underline her rural Swedish background. 

In the second half of the story/show, she is Raoul’s fiancé and albeit a secret it would probably affect her wardrobe slightly. If only that he gifted her items, or maybe even had a tailor make her stuff. I always assumed that was what the blue Wishing dress in the show indicates, though I can also see the opera staff loving her and helping her out with splendid garments in secret… 

But still, always a corset, usually separate but matching bodice and skirt, and fabric, cleavage and accessories fit for the occasion. :) 

As for colours black and purple was usually only done for mourning, so again - unless you wanna make a point by using them specifically, stay clear of them. Clothes in alternating b/w, or black and purple, or purple and white, are usually signs of half-mourning, so use those combos with care. White was usually for young girls and brides, which is also helpful to have in mind. 

Synthetic dye (anilin) was discovered in 1858, which resulted in an insane love for anything super bright, so feel free to go nuts with colours. Pink wasn’t a “girl colour” at this point. Sky blue was the colour of young girls, something still seen in fairytales and movies - Belle in BATB, Alice in Wonderland, Christine in Maria Bjørnson’s design. It’s a good colour to underline the typical “young and spirited girl” flair. :) 

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask :) 



More embroidered petticoats!

Remember that post with two embroidered petticoats? Well, I found some more and now I TOTALLY NEED ONE!

Images from top:

  1. “Macaroni” jacket and embroidered skirt, late 18th century, France.
  2. Jacket and embroidered green petticoat, Kyoto Costume Institute.
  3. Silk & metallic thread embroidery and bobbin lace on silk petticoat, ca. 1760, Portugal, LACMA.
  4. Linen petticoat with wool embroidery, mid 18th century, New England, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
  5. Cotton petticoat with silver embroidery, late 18th century, New Spain (Mexico), National Museum of History.
  6. Linen petticoat with wool embroidery, mid 18th century, America, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Imperial Yellow 18th Century Fashion

I know, I’ve already made a yellow post before (you can check it HERE) but this very shade of yellow that came into fashion because of the Chinese influence became popular is just beautiful.

BTW I found a cotton velvet in this very shade and I think it would make a gorgeous riding habit!

Images from top:

  1. Back detail of a robe à l’anglaise (check out the buttons to wear it retroussée à la polonaise!!), ca. 1770s-1780s, Victoria & Albert Museum.
  2. French Brunswick jacket, 1765 - 1775, Victoria & Albert Museum.
  3. Dress, 1770s; men’s coat, 1790s, Fashion Institute of Technology.
  4. Dress made of 1740s Spitalfields fabric, 1770s, The Kyoto Costume Institute.
  5. Caitriona Balfe as Claire in Outlander, costume design by Terry Dresbach.
  6. French mitt, late 18th century-early 19th century, Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
  7. Floral robe á la polonaise, American, 1780-85, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  8. Robe à la française, England, ca. 1760, LACMA.
  9. Embroidered vest, Norway, Nasjonalmuseet.
  10. Maternity outfit, mid 18th century, Sweden, Nordiskamuseet.
Hi anon who asked about tech theatre books:

Here’s some I’ve used in class!


The Prop Building Guidebook by Eric Hart

Stage Management:

The Stage Management Handbook by Daniel Ionazzi


The Magic Garment by Rebecca Cunningham

Fashion Anthology from the Kyoto Costume Institute

Misc Tech:

Theatrical Design and Production by J Michael Gilette

Drawing and Rendering for Theatre by Clare Rowe

A History of Western Art by Laurie Adams

Play Directing by Hodge McLain

Script Analysis for Actors, Directors and Designer by James Thomas

Immersive Theatres by Josephine Machon


The Empty Space by Peter Brook (every theatre person should read this)

Theatre/ Theory by Mark Fortier

Theatre/Theory/Theatre by Daniel Gerould

Theatre in Theory 1900-2000 by David Krasner

Basically any theatre history/art history books you can get your hands on will help. They will provide primary resources for historically accurate designs! The more you know the better! Sorry lighting designers, I dropped my lighting class so, I sold my book off!

And some how, I didn’t have a core book for my set design class? Idk??

At-home gown - Brand Iida Takashimaya - Label S.Iida, “Takashimaya” silks & embroideries. Kyoto - c. 1906

Source : Kyoto Costume Institute ; “kimono-style indoor garment exported from Japan to Western countries. Iida Takashimaya, the predecessor of the present Takashimaya department store, was a major kimono retailer in the Meiji era, and aggressively engaged in foreign trade business as early as the end of the 19th century. In the late 19th century a Japan boom spread in the Western countries, partly through world expositions held in various places. Westerners favored Japanese kimonos, sometimes remaking it as into fashionable dresses. In the 1880s, women in the West started to wear kimonos as indoor wear, which was less subject to social constraints, and kimonos became widely popular in Western countries up until the early 20th century. The Japanese word "kimono” is said to have first been used in France in 1876. Now in America and Europe it is generally used to indicate a loose robe worn indoors.“