Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Art of Frank Benson, from Victoria Magazine July 1992

Eleanor, by Frank Benson 1862-1951
For more paintings by Frank Benson, go to Lovely Whatevers

There is an old saying that "good art imitates nature." In this case, the grand daughters and great-grand daughters of artist Frank Benson, pose to imitate his good art, dressed in similar clothing, which was widely available in the early 1990's.
Posing as Eleanor, approximately 100 years later, for the cover of Victoria Magazine, 1992

"Sunlight" from Lovely Whatevers
Frank Benson painted pictures of his daughters when the family vacationed in a country spot near a lake.

One of Frank Benson's great granddaughters posing his painting in 1992

Above, Frank Benson's painting of one of his daughters on the left; imitated below by one of his descendants.
You can see more art by Frank Benson and read about his family on a website written by one of his granddaughters here
All photos are from the July 1992 issue of Victoria Magazine.
Please feel free to continue posting anonymously if you prefer!
These paintings show women with a background of nature, dressed not to defy it but to compliment it. I do so wish the younger women would think of lakes and skies and apple blossoms, white picket fences, and beautiful homes, when they choose their clothing. I know that there is not much available "on the rack" or cheaply, but their mothers can surely pay dressmakers or trade services of some kind, and have good clothing made. In a future post, I will put patterns up that I have found easy, alongside paintings that inspired the look.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Modest Feminine Dress From the Pages of 1990 Victoria Magazine

These models from the July, 1990 edition of Victoria magazine, are draped in loose, flowing garments that work well for every day, at-home or out-and-about. The caption next to the light blue outfit and the pink outfit reads:

"Wearing a silk skirt flowing in the wind, a woman cannot help feeling utterly feminine. Her step acquires a graceful lilt...She may find herself ever mirroring the poses of women in 19th century seascapes painted by Frank Benson..."

Below: "With a simple silk blouse, belted at the waist, a silk rose pinned at her neck, and a folding artists umbrella...she might well be one of the turn-of-the-century art students...who attended "schools in the sand." The most famous of these were hosted by William Merritt Chase, whose school "blossomed every summer with feminine talent"--and an array of artistically dressed women.

Below: "A study in subdued femininity--a tailored oxford cloth shirtwaist dress with a surprise: a hand crocheted butterfly lace collar. Dress by Nancy Johnson." I believe this model's name was Mareeka and she and her children modeled regularly for Victoria, in innocent clothing that was just lovely to look at.

Many times, people would phone Victoria magazine and try to find out where the clothing could be purchased. I believe they began a wonderful and long-needed interest in good clothing during the late 80's and early 90's.

Above: "Just as a wisp of a white cloud is the only adornment befitting a July sky, so too, understated touches make for the most alluring summer fashions. Here, a pure linen shirt-dress, enhanced with embroidery at the collar and cuffs, is paired with the subtlest of accessories: a blue French silk ribbon to accent the waist...

Other pages in this issue feature domestic out door scenes. This issue was where I first saw something called a "food umbrella," above. It was popular a century ago but grew out of favor , for some reason. I did manage to find some of these at a Dollar Tree store. Netting can be substituted for a food umbrella, if you have none. Just drape it over your table to keep the food covered, and anchor it down with glassware or silverware. This only costs about a dollar a yard at fabric stores and comes in all colors.

The arrangements in this magazine inspired women every where to see beauty in every thing they had, from an old vase, to a pen and paper.

The recipes included were: raspberry fool, raspberry puree, and raspberry hazelnut meringue.

Young girls everywhere always flipped to the very back of the magazine when it came, to pour over every detail of the monthly house plans that were featured. They took a magnifying glass and studied the floor plans, got out their father's carpenter measuring tapes and sized up their own doorways, rooms and windows. Then, they would draw their own houses on graph paper and rearrange the floor plan to suit themselves. Victoria's house plans inspired women everywhere to architect their own homes.
Notice how the clothing is made of natural wovens and has sleeves, collars, and long hems, yet the women look so beautiful. Modest dressing will attract attention, but at least it will inspire people who see it.
You will find that people look at you in a positive way and men give positive compliments to women in feminine clothing, but the styles of the day (skimpy, clingy, strappy, low cut, etc) rarely get a compliment. People would be ashamed to say "I love how that big bull's-eye print with the black circle inside the green circle, just sort of lands in the strategic places on your figure." No one would say, "I am so glad to see you in that tight outfit that shows every unwanted pound on your body," and no one would ever say, "I think it is really nice that you have more bare body on you than clothing. I am 80 years old. Can you tell me where I can get a really cool outfit like that?"
This is now the time to post anonymously and say something you have always wanted to say about modest dressing and how to discourage all this nakedness that is going on around us.
You know the Bible says that women should be adorned in modest apparel. "Adorn " means "to drape;"modest means, among other things, "to hide" and apparel means "Loose and flowing." We understand what "drape " means when it comes to closing the ones on the windows to keep out the sun and protect our furniture, but for some reason, people find it difficult to understand why they should drape themselves and their daughters in enough cloth to protect their privacy on their bodies.
In an attempt to be modest, some women fall back on tee shirts and jeans, but these are not pretty and they also are not very modest, as they show every outline of your private areas. Remember that drapes in a house protect the inner belongings of the family from prying eyes or harsh weather. Tee shirts only look good if you are very very thin, but even then, they are still not beautiful and not very inspiring as an influence to younger women. Older women have to clean up their own act first, in the area of modest dress before they can attempt to influence the younger women to dress modestly. If you have gotten used to being in sports clothes, you will find it hard to develop a sense of style and beauty that will inspire the young. Young people are not going to follow some older woman who dresses like something the cat dragged in.
This is the post where you can only comment anonymously and tell your gut feelings about this terrible problem we are having with the fashion designers and their shortage of cloth, so remember to click "anonymous" after you write.
Here is the picture of the dress Barbara Billingsly wore to the grocery store in the 1950's. Many of us dressed up to shop, in those days!*:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7DKUS%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1
Some women might find dresses here
and also check catalogs like Chadwicks.

Victoria Magazine July 1990