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October 26, 2012


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This is an amazing piece of 19th century fancy dress, beyond charming! And a great little article too. However, I'm curious where the designation of a 'gypsy'-themed costume comes from. It just shouts Greco-Roman inspired/themed to me. While saying it is highly stylised is a huge understatement, the cascading folds of the underskirt, the swagging of the overskirt to look like 'wet drapery', the treatment of the cap sleeves, and the colour palette of mostly white with silver and pale blue strike me as entirely classical in derivation - the tiny silver Arabic coins that would not be noticed as such from any distance notwithstanding. Of course, not being able to examine it close-up and in-person I may easily be missing something that strongly suggests 'gypsy', it just seemed an odd designation to me. Thanks for sharing such a fun piece, I do love this blog!

FIDM Museum

Hi Carolyn,

Thanks for your comment. It's great to hear that you enjoy our blog!

I've been thinking about your suggestion that this might be classical or Greco-Roman fancy dress. The suggestion that it might be a gypsy-themed outfit came from the original cataloger and was an educated guess based on some primary source research. In person, I think the metal coins and metal coil fringe, the lace inset in the bodice and sleeves, don't read (to me at least!) as Greco-Roman. But, as we haven't found an exact match, it's still open to interpretation!

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