Walk in the Park

victorian, watercolor, art
What better way to spend a sunny summer afternoon than in the park? The Victorian aristocrats certainly agreed with the notion, treating the park as the perfect leisure destination.
flowers, butterflies, watercolor, victorian
 "Flowers and Butterflies"
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Still dressed in proper attire, families would descend upon the park’s open green spaces for quality time, and of course, to see and be seen.

 "Two Women Crossing a Field"
Maurice Prendergast captured many of these moments with watercolors, pencil, pen and ink during his time in the Boston Public Garden between 1895 and 1897. His quick sketches and watercolors captured the mood and style of the late-Victorian wealthy inhabitants of the city. 
 "A Woman in a Veiled Hat Decorated with Poppies"
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A couple hundred years later, Alexander McQueen captured bits of the same Victorian spirit with his Spring 2007 collection.  
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 "Four Vignettes of Fashionably Dressed Women"
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This period of the Victorian era saw a transition in female dress and form. Queen Victoria was still on the throne of England, but there was a gentle relaxation in female dress that mirrored artistic movements of the preceding years. The rigid corsets and bustles began relaxing into a frothier look layered with lace and soft edges that mimicked the softer qualities of Impressionist paintings.
 ready to wear, women's fashion


ready to wear, women's fashion

 Sport clothing would soon be making its way into the wardrobes of both men and women, with the rise of the Gibson Girl and new types of athleticism and leisure activities. However, nighttime formal attire would still include suits and hats for the gentlemen and a glimpse of skin for the ladies.
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ready to wear, women's fashion


For a day in the park, the fashionable lady would don the latest style that included leg-o-mutton sleeves that emphasized volume at the shoulder before tapering to the wrist. ready to wear, women's fashion

"A Woman Reading a Book"

Or she might ensure that the lines of her dress were like those of an hourglass, hugging the waist before flaring outward. With high collars and a long hourglass figure, the silhouette was tall and slim.
 ready to wear, women's fashion

ready to wear, women's fashion, victorian
Each watercolor Prendergast put on paper caught a moment in a time, a glimpse of a world that would quickly fade into the next era. Just as the throne transitioned to a new ruler, innovative art movements made their way onto the world’s stage and styles and values evolved with the passage of time, there is a reminder in these sketches that each moment must be lived...captured with the colors, movements and spirit it has to offer before it passes you by.    
 "The Streetcar on Tremont Street"
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Runway Photos: Vogue.com 
Artwork: Met Museum

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