The Poetess in Winter


My winter look combines a little Jo Marsh in her garret with a turbaned lady of letters from the French Enlightenment. I will be warm in an intellectual mix of east-meets-west that was all the rage in the 18th and 19th centuries. Jane’s Vanity provides the exotic elegance that I crave in my caravansery (home office).

Cultural appropriation in fashion is nothing new. It has been going on since time began...the sincerest form of flattery and all that. It became easier to borrow when inspiration appeared via the trade networks of the Early Modern Period.* “...people absorbed and adapted information about the dress of other nations through a myriad of sources, including costume albums, traveler’s accounts, paintings and other artwork, masqerades, and the theater.”

To get the look, I will want cozy layers of texture and pattern. First a vision from Vannina Vespirini, the Alhambra Gold Bralette Set with its gilded French embroidery and champagne tulle. Next the travel-worthy Antwerpen Silk Pajamas from Klements. Its pale aqua silk is patterned with toile-inspired tales of adventure in shades of sepia. On top, Gilda & Pearl’s Melitza Long Robe in sheer black and gold lace. The turban? The silk chiffon Opium Giant Square from Klements

Or I might start with a modern version of the Chemise a la Reine, the gauzy Caribbean garment imported to Europe centuries ago. Vannina Vespirini offers the Intemporel Outremer Slip in teal stretch silk accented with vibrant purple lace. It looks especially opulent over Lise Charmel’s Fete de Venise Lingerie Set with its tropical print on navy mesh. Wear the chemise as a layer between the pajama top and bottom of Olivia Von Halle’s Lila Torment Velvet Set. The scarf? Another giant square from Klements, this time Painted Sea Monsters on a teal background.

On busy days, the Klements Longline Smoking Jacket offers the poetess a quick dose of nostalgia. I toss it on over jeans and the Zynni Emerald V-Neck Sleeveless Shell. Then add dash with a Zynni Superfine Cashmere Sweater wrapped around my neck. Choice of Teal or Sienna.

Snug in a legacy of JV layers, I contemplate an inspiring winter.

*The Levite Dress: Untangling the Cultural Influence of Eighteenth-Century French Fashion by Kendra Van Cleave 

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