Exhibition Highlight: Embellishments in Victorian Dress

Saco Museum

How did nineteenth century clothing makers think about design? How did they create the fabulous, over-the-top trims late 19th c. fashion is known for? Embellishments in Victorian Dress looked at nine design principles, and how they were applied, to help see Victorian fashion in a new way.

First opening at the University Museum at UNH, Durham in September 2012, the exhibition traveled to Lowell, Massachusetts in 2014 and the Portsmouth Athenaeum in 2015. In 2017, this greatly expanded exhibition of fifty garments featured the nine core examples from the original show, with many new selections from the University of New Hampshire’s Irma Bowen Textile Collection, the Saco Museum, Portsmouth Historical Society’s John Paul Jones House, Strawbery Banke Museum, and Woodman Institute Museum.

Strawbery Banke Museum

Woodman Institute Museum

Portsmouth Historical Society

Saco Museum

One of a Kind Mannequins

mannequin in processEach SchaefferArts mannequin is made by hand to the exact needs of the garment it will be displaying. The size is calibrated to show off the clothing without straining it. The shape is based on the correct silhouette for its time period in history (complete with whatever hoops, bustles, corsets, petticoats or pads it would have needed), and all materials are archival to ensure the safest possible display experience.

A mannequin takes several days to complete and is made to fit the needs of the exhibition in terms of color and pose. One was even made to hang suspended from the ceiling, holding a mapping grid in its hands! (see Scuba Diver portfolio)
More about our Custom Mannequins