Thoroughly Modern Milkmaid

Though modern in its designs, the Pre-Fall 2017 collection from Temperley London brings to mind historic imagery from The Netherlands. The combination of colors, embroidery, shapes and lines have a nostalgic spirit of old world milkmaids, walks across the windmill dotted landscape and exploring cobbled streets and pathways.

The earthy golden hues favored in the collection made me instantly think of Vermeer’s 17th century paintings. The color was often used in the dresses of his subjects, like that in “The Girl with a Pearl Earring” from 1665. Whether she’s pouring water, creating a delicate lace fabric or sitting quietly in a moment of tranquil beauty, each of the subjects dons this warm color. 
"The Milkmaid," 1657-58
"The Lacemaker," 1669-70
The earth tones used in many of the designs mimic the brown of the dirt, the orange and red of fall leaves and brick buildings, the green foliage, the yellow of sunlight and the blue of the sky. These colors were captured in the landscape paintings of 19th century Dutch painter Charles Leickert, like "Near Haarlem" and "The Ferry" seen below. 

You can easily envision one of these 21st century dresses being worn by a Dutch milkmaid in a scene like those painted by Leickert...although she would have been an extra chic milkmaid. 

Old world Dutch fashion was often characterized by a layered blouse and pleated skirt, as well as an apron with embroidery, as seen in the fashion plate below.
Bits of these historic elements found their way in to this collection.  For instance, the layered tops of Dutch women often included cap sleeves, which is very similar to those seen on this Temperley London dress.
Women also frequently paired a white shirt with a colored outer layer. These modern white tops could easily serve as the under layer and are appropriately paired with a pleated skirt like those favored by Dutch women.    

 Though aprons did not make their way down the runway, the smock-like designs of the tops and patterns on the skirts are similar to an apron’s shape. These smock-like elements also mimic the layers of the white shirt and outer vest or top. The embroidery blooming across the designs is similar to the delicate details that were found on women’s aprons. 

With details like embroidery, soft ruffles and charming prints, the old world becomes new, offering a wardrobe fit for a thoroughly modern milkmaid.    

 Runway Photos:
Dutch Fashion History: