When costume became fashion in Victorian dress: An exploration of historicity, exoticism and convention in E.W. Godwin’s ‘A Lecture on Dress’ and Lady Clementina Hawarden’s ‘Study from Life’, Kenya Hunt
Many modern day ideas about women’s dress in fact have their origins in concepts that began in the Victorian era: beauty and utility, historicity and conventionality. As a result, it is important to look at the two poles of adornment and how they framed a battle over woman’s dress that would impact the way future generations viewed the subject. This essay will explore the many ways in which they converged in Victorian design through the examination of two works by two notable Victorian artists: ‘A Lecture on Dress’ by Edward William Godwin and a selected image from Lady Clementina Hawarden’s black and white photographic series, ‘Study from Life’. This essay will also argue that the blurring of the lines between historic costume and contemporary dress led to a permanent transition in personal display and adornment.