Saturday, January 15, 2011

Black and ecru

Did you catch the first episode of Masterpiece Classic "Downton Abbey"? Period costumes. Maggie Smith! Oh, my. You have to look closely, but that's a lovely little reticule Elizabeth McGovern as Cora is holding.

I love everything about this picture; the way the curlicues of the wrought iron echo the heavy passementerie on Cora's costume, her lack of shoes, Hugh Bonneville's expression and casual seating.

It got me to thinking about a few other movie costumes in black and ecru that I love.

My first would be Scarlett O'Hara's New Orleans honeymoon dress.
There is some major rickrack on that one.

When I see this costume I think of Scarlett saying of Mammy "She said we could give ourselves airs and get ourselves all rigged up like we were race horses but we were just mules in horse harness and we didn't fool anybody. "

A mule in horse harness! I feel like that sometimes.

And my favorite of all time, the wedding ensemble Meryl Streep playing Karen Blixin wore in "Out of Africa".

The hat alone is amazing.

And that stand-up collar.

There was another black and ecru costume that she wears a bit earlier in that film.

Black and ecru.
Just a classic combination, don't you think?

All this musing made me remember a different piece of Hardanger that I worked years ago. The pattern showed it worked in traditional ecru on ecru as the one I'm currently working. I decided I wanted to try it with black on ecru.

I did all the embroidery, but never made it up into the needlework pocket as intended by the pattern. I wasn't happy at all with embroidery. Part of the beauty with Hardanger, to my eye, is how the light is reflected by the various angles of the pearl cotton. I didn't think about how black absorbs light.

Maybe if we'd had this ice back when I was working on it. Thank goodness black absorbs light - and heat. It helps the ice melt faster on the roadways and parking lots!

But all this does have me rethinking the piece. I wonder if I could possibly remember or unearth the pattern and finishing directions?


YesterUkes said...

I just love reading your blog.

Sheri said...

I wish, for just one day, we could go back to that era and wear those beautiful big hoop skirts, the fancy hats and boots. We could all go outside and play croquet in the yard. Of course, it would have to be in April, too cold now and too hot later.
Hope you find the finishing instructions. That's very nice!

Mary said...

The clothes in Downton Abbey are so gorgeous. As is your black and ecru hardanger piece.

minipurl said...

Yes, wouldn't it be wonderful to return to that era of beautiful dresses, hats, and purses.
Your writing is such fun to read and I love the interesting tidbits of information you always include.