This month I read Balloonmania Belles by Sharon Wright and am happy to say this was a great read! Much of the book falls within the FFF timeline of 1880-1930, although the book begins in 1783 when the Montgolfier brothers unleashed the first balloon carrying living beings (animals) into the air successfully in France.
The book follows the lives of Balloonmania’s earliest and most notable flying females. Each chapter is devoted to one or two main belles and their stories are interspersed within a broader historical context. I appreciated that this book was able to provide a lot of information on these ladies that is otherwise very difficult to procure, as there is no comprehensive guide that concentrates on female aeronautical pioneers. I wish the book included even more images of the women it describes, but in doing my own search, I know these are difficult to find if they exist at all.
Little Ladies proved to be a hidden gem (and also more closely in line with the FFF timeline). Although most of the pieces date around the 1870s, many of the ideals and pieces themselves would have still been relevant and used in the 1880s, the beginning of the FFF area of study, though some of the silhouettes would have changed.
The exhibit makes the point that these dolls were instructional in the sense that they provided young girls with what to expect in marriage and coming years. Beautifully ornate and detailed, the dolls provided a counterpart to written materials on how a lady should act, what she should wear during very specific times of day (down to the handkerchief placed in her pocket and the bustle under her skirt), and the realms in which she should primarily occupy herself.
Volez Voguez Voyager is an exhibit you may have heard of by now. It opened October 27, 2017 and will remain open until January 7, 2017. What you may have missed if you have gone (and will be sure not to if still planning on going) are some of the clothing items that helped to serve as the backdrop to some amazing early luggage pieces and the relationship between changing transportation methods and changing garments. This post will highlight some of the relationship occurring between clothing and travel for women between 1880-1930. It’s important to note that these clothing pieces are pre-inclusion of clothing under the Louis Vuitton label. This didn’t happen until many years later, in 1997, when Marc Jacobs was tasked with initiating both a men’s and women’s label for the brand as its first creative director.