Collaboration with whatgrandmawore and whatsaroxy: Fashion Illustration

This post is one of many in a collaboration with whatgrandmawore and artist Roxy Van Bemmel. It focuses on the interpretation of historical garments and textiles in an illustrated form, from a modern, abstract, and creative perspective.

whatsaroxy 1

Roxy van Bemmel painting of an 1826 dress belonging to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2019). All rights reserved to the artist.

A message from the artist: My name is Roxy van Bemmel (@whatsaroxy), and I’m a fashion illustrator from Utrecht, The Netherlands. I’ve been wanting to give more depth to my paintings which is why I reached out to @whatgrandmawore. My background in fashion design taught me the basics of fashion history (and made me fall in love with it), but collaborating with someone who knows way more than I do makes this process a lot more fun! For this image I referenced poses in portraiture dating from the era, but gave the 1826 garment a modern touch by using tons of colour in my illustration.

whatsaroxy mood board

Roxy van Bemmel mood board for a painting of a 1826 dress belonging to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2019). All rights reserved to the artist.

whatsaroxy 1826 dress

1981.12.1a, b. Dress. c1826. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/107987

Roxy has given particular emphasis to the sleeving of this 1826 gown from The Met  collection. Sleeves during the 1820s were slowly starting to balloon to the larger gigot sleeves we are used to seeing during the 1820s to 1830s. The waistline of this garment, compared to its predecessors from the Empire period, has begun to descend, the waist nipped in with gathers of fabric, hinting the future mode for smaller waists to come. The diamond print also adds another interesting dynamic and talking point to this dress.

whatsaroxy 1826 dress 2

1981.12.1a, b. Dress. c1826. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/107987

How do you think the pattern was created on this dress? What do you think it tells you about fashion to come in the 1830s?

You can follow Roxy’s work on her Instagram: @whatsaroxy

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