Lucy Adlington February 2022: Thorns and Roses

We enjoyed a lively and entertaining talk from Lucy Adlington,  a firm favourite with our members.

Today, Lucy explored fashions and fabrics through time, inspired by nature and gardens. As usual,  Lucy had brought along a range of outfits – some originals and some carefully researched and constructed replicas.

Lucy took us through history, explaining what we might have worn in the past to enjoy gardening. In medieval times, women wore special gauntlets with claws to deal with weeds and insects. We learned that ladies were excluded from being gardening professionals until the gardens in Edinburgh and at Kew changed this – but only if ladies dressed as boys, were referred to as boys and, of course, got paid less!

We enjoyed some exquisite examples of 18th century embroidery, inspired by the tumbling flowers popular in the Renaissance gardens of the wealthy and the availability of botanical drawings. Lucy showed us a beautiful yellow jacket and apricot coloured waistcoat. Amazingly, the designs were traced and inked on to the fabric and then embroidered. As the 18th century progressed, silk weaving incorporating flowers became popular.

Lucy showed us little bags from the late 19th century,  adorned with stylised flowers from the Arts and Crafts movement, patchwork and ribbon corsets – all  heavily ‘flowered’. The Cottage Culture of the Victorian era, during which time, people enjoyed embellishing just about everything with flowers.

World War 2, saw ladies embroidering hemlines and making floral brooches. Lucy had brought us some Horrocks’ dresses, which definitely brought back memories for many of us!

Finally, the Biba and Quant era, with bright, happy florals. Remember that Quant daisy!? And, who didn’t own something Laura Ashley!?

It was great to know that the future of fashion and fabric is green, with clothing produced from bamboo, hemp and petroleum – back to nature then!

Thank you, Lucy.

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