Object of the Day

White patent pumps, Mary Janes, 1970’s

With the 1970’s came Disco, and the flashy styles in sequins, leather and polyester.  And when getting ready for a night of disco dancing, no outfit would be complete without a pair of platform shoes.  The pair of pumps from the collection, shown here, have a high, chunky heel, and a decorative buckle in the Mary Jane style.  They were handmade in Italy by “Salvanna di Torino,” bearing its logo on the insole.

The Mary Jane’s namesake comes from the comic strip character of this name in “Buster Brown,” first published in 1902.  The classic Mary Jane style has a low (or no) heel, a wide toe, a strap across the instep, and is usually associated with children and girls dress clothing.  Although, variations of this style are popular in modern women’s fashion, as shown below in this example from Prada’s 2012 collection.

Object of the Day

Three-piece second-day dress, brick-red wool, 1882

Mary Matilda Hancock and Frederick Wm. Watkin were married in New York City in 1882. This three-piece, brick-red, wool dress – a shaped-fitted, basque bodice with pointed peplum, a long gored skirt with overlapping ruffles, and a pouffed overskirt – would have made a wonderful impression when Mr. and Mrs. Watkin embarked on their honeymoon.

This three-piece dress was part of Mary’s trousseau. The word trousseau came from the French word ‘trousse’ which means ‘bundle.’ The Trousseau originated as a bundle of clothing and personal possessions the bride brought with her to her new home. In America, a girl might begin preparing her trousseau from an early age, saving treasured items (including clothing and household linens made by herself or given to her) in a Hope Chest to be stored for her married life. Among a bride’s trousseau would be the dresses and lingerie she would wear right after the wedding and on her honeymoon.

A Second-day dress was a semi-formal dress the new bride would wear when the newlyweds were visiting relatives and friends, or receiving guests in their new home. The second-day dress or suit was usually more modest in style and ornamentation than the wedding gown. It would be worn on special occasions and Sunday church services for years to come. A bride might also wear a going-away suit when she and her husband left for their honeymoon, serving the same function as the Second-day dress.

Original metal buttons have a moon and stars motif.

Ask A Curator Day!

Today is Ask A Curator Day! In this spirit, the E&T Division curator and staff will participate by answering questions (as best we can!) about our collections here at the Museum of Texas Tech University.

To get things started, the images below display a corset and bustle hoop form dating from the 1880’s.  Because these items are no longer worn in modern fashion, they are objects of curiosity that many have never seen before.

Although the petticoats would go over the wire hoops, this is how these items would be worn together.  The corset creates and keeps a small waisted, hourglass form that was fashionable.  The bustle hoops buckle at the waist, and support a skirt with its shape; flat in the front, bustled at the back, and flared at the bottom.

The corset is tightened and tied in the back, but clasps in the front to easily dress.  The small hook shown above hooked over the petticoat waist to prevent it from riding up.

This bustle form was worn under a brown dress made for Ms. Rhoda Shields when she was 16 years old, around 1884.  Sadly, she later died three weeks apart from her sister (Mrs. Sophronia Shields Rogers) during an epidemic.

Please leave your comments about these objects, or any other inquiries about our collections!

 

Object of the Day

Texas Tech Saddle Tramp Uniform, 1936-1937

This Saturday the Texas Tech Red Raiders play at home against the University of New Mexico.  Let’s get ready for some college football!

The Saddle Tramps is the oldest student spirit organization at Texas Tech University, founded in 1936.  The founders of this organization brought about many of the University’s traditions, and it is involved in service to the school and Lubbock community.

Some Saddle Tramp projects include raising money to buy the first forty band uniforms, helping to obtain the fountain and TTU seal at the Broadway Street campus entrance, and helping restore the Tech Dairy Barn in the early 1990’s through monetary donations.

Game-day traditions include wrapping the Will Rogers & Soapsuds “Riding into the Sunset” statue in red crepe paper, and ringing the victory bells for thirty minutes after every home football, men’s basketball, and baseball win. The bells are also rung for every Tech Big 12 Championship win, and after every graduation.  They also make the Homecoming bonfire, and conduct a torchlight parade at the beginning of the bonfire for the Carol of Lights.

Saddle Tramp Jim Gaspard created the university’s costumed mascot Raider Red, based on a character by Dirk West.  During each mascot’s tenure, the identity of the person playing Raider Red is unknown to everyone but the Saddle Tramps.

This uniform is from 1936-1937, and consists of red flannel pants, a button-down over-shirt, and a tank under-shirt.  The back of the button-down shirt has a black, felt megaphone applique with “Tech” stitched on top.  The under-shirt displays a faded black “T” printed on the front.

Object of the Day

Multi-Colored Beaded Purse, 1917

The Clothing & Textiles collections contains many fashion objects other than dresses, suits and quilts.  Purses, fans, parasols and umbrellas, gloves, shoes and other accessories are a large component of these collections.

Made in France, this beaded purse has a brass frame, and a colorful geometric design on both sides with fringe and a chain strap.  It also has a small, round mirror for accessible primping.  Belonging to Mrs. Ruth Bryant, this purse was given to her by a young French Chasseur of “The Blue Devils” during World War I in 1917.

A mountain unit of the French Army, created in the late 19th century, were called the Chasseurs Alpins.  They were formed as a defense along the Alps border with Italy.  During World War I, they were called the “Blue Devils” by the Germans because of their blue uniforms, their “dashing” attacks and fierce fighting techniques.

If you have any other information about this object and Mrs. Harold (Ruth) Bryant, please contact the E&T Division or comment on this page.

Object of the Day

Black Beaded Chiffon Dress, 1926


This sleeveless chiffon dress has a low scoop neckline featuring an intricate design of rhinestones and cut-glass bugle beads.  The same trim outlines the elongated waistline and fans upward on the bodice in an art deco butterfly design.

Detail of the butterfly beading design

We’ve been watching the trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby in anticipation of the movie’s release, which was just pushed back to Summer 2013.  In the movie, costume designer, Catherine Martin, takes a few liberties to modernize the flamboyant style of the 1920s.  How do you think this dress from our collection compares to the black sequined gown featured in the trailer?

Click on the 1920s tag below to see other objects from this decade on our blog

Object of the Day

Tan, Coral & Orange Print Chiffon Beaded Dress, 1920s

This dress typifies 1920s style from the height of the decade. Although this dress may not be considered short by today’s standards, hemlines rose sharply in the 1920s arriving between mid-calf to just below the knee.  Shorter dresses showed off a woman’s legs.

During these transformative years, women opted for a new silhouette in stark contrast to previous styles.  This dress shows the columnar silhouette marked by a low waistline at the hips.  The weight of the dress hangs loosely from the shoulders. In this dress, the hips are defined by the vertical bronze beadwork and pink triangles.  Beading became especially popular in the second half of the 1920s.

Detail of the beadwork and textile print

Fabrics in the 1920s became lighter weight with more women choosing silks and chiffons.  The pattern designs became more vibrant and elaborate. This brightly colored geometric print draws influence from the art deco movement.

Object of the Day

Flame-Color Tulle Maifest Gown, 1960

This dress is entirely constructed of flame-color tulle net.  The bodice is strapless and boned with a side zipper, and the bust area is covered with multiple rows of ruffles.  A false pleated cummerbund encircles the waist. The full skirt is made of multiple rows of narrow, net ruffles over an acetate lining. The skirt is topped with a modified polonaise and a large bow with long streamers.  This dress was made by a local seamstress in Brenham, Texas, and worn by the donor as a Duchess in the Brenham Maifest Annual Celebration.

The festival known as Maifest, takes place annually (since 1881) in Brenham, Texas.  This celebration involves the entire community, highlighting its German heritage.  Maifest begins in January, announcing the Junior and Senior royalty, and continues with events in ending in May.  There are parades showcasing each court, and events that follow including live music and performances, and is kicked off with the traditional Maipole dance.  This year Maifest takes place May 4-5, 2012.

Object of the Day

Ivory Brocade Dress, 1912

April 14, 2012 marks one-hundred years since the Titanic’s sinking.  The clothing and textiles collections at the Museum of TTU has this dress from the same era (1912), and of the same fashion that would have been seen on first class passengers aboard the Titanic.

This ivory brocade dress’ bodice is tucked on the left side of a pointed V-yoke, over which the right side is bound with black satin over a wide French re-embroidered lace.  The trim is repeated on the sleeves, and on the skirt front in a diagonal line from the right side to the lower left, extending around the hemline in the back.

Fashions from the 1910s started changing from the constricting and voluptuous styles of the Edwardian era, to the straight-lined, lighter silhouettes of the Art Deco era.  The flowing and soft look of this period was heavily inspired by the opulent fashion of the Orientalist aesthetic, brought by the Ballet Russes when they performed Scheherazade in Paris in 1910.  Paul Poirot was one of the first designers to make the transition from the corseted look of the Victorian age, into the more natural and draped designs of the modern era.  Many characterize this extravagant and rich fashion style with that of the tragic ocean liner, Titanic.  In more recent pop culture, the PBS mini-series Downton Abbey has popularized this era, as well as its opulent fashions, which begins with the news of the Titanic’s sinking.

1912-1914 Paul Poiret Evening Dress. Courtesy of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Courtesy of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

For more examples from the Museum of TTU textiles collection of this straight-lined, flowing style from the early 1910s era, go to our Current Exhibits page under the exhibit They Weren’t Always White to vote on your favorite Art Deco styled wedding dress!