The Skeleton Costume: 1896

 x-ray-masquerade-skeleton-costume

A SKELETON COSTUME.

A Very Up-to-Date and Striking Fancy Carnival Ball Dress.

The designing of fancy dresses for carnival balls is an art in Munich and Paris and the political event of the hour, the social fad or the latest scientific discovery is promptly exploited by the costumers. The Roentgen discovery of the uses of the cathode ray was not two weeks old when one of the reigning beauties of the Bavarian capital appeared at a court ball in the unique and somewhat startling costume here reproduced.

Beneath a fluffy cloud of gauze drapery the fair masquerader wore a watered silk skirt and close-fitting basque, upon which had been deftly painted the principal bones of the human frame. The ribs, collar bones, arms, thigh bones and spine were outlined in black upon the white background. The idea was not carried above the neck, nor below the knees, and a pair of roguish eyes peeped through a satin mask. The whole thing was dainty in its conception and execution.

Owyhee Avalanche [Silver City, ID] 19 June 1896: p. 3

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: We have seen how the Roentgen rays were used at an “x-ray spook party.” This seems a good deal safer, if still a bit macabre and unsavoury.  One feels there is a horrid and unspoken subtext: “Does this flesh-and-blood make me look fat?”

There was an equivalent costume for the gentlemen:

pierrette-and-skeleton-fancy-dress

Skeleton Close-fitting tunic and trousers of black velvet, painted down the front to represent a skeleton. This can be done with Judson’s luminous paint, or with Judson’s glitterine paint. Another way is to cut the shapes in white satin and shade them up with crayons. High boots, Large cavalier cloak and hat

Skeleton Close-fitting tunic and trousers of black velvet, painted down the front to represent a skeleton. This can be done with Judson’s luminous paint, or with Judson’s glitterine paint. Another way is to cut the shapes in white satin and shade them up with crayons. High boots, Large cavalier cloak and hat

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “The Skeleton Costume: 1896

    1. chriswoodyard Post author

      Mrs Daffodil gets so very tired of seeing the same old “naughty French Maid” fancy-dress in the pop-up shops. Mrs Daffodil has served in that capacity and feels that they demean the entire arduous profession. She would like to see the costume designer try to dust efficiently in those heels…
      A very happy Hallowe’en to you!
      Mrs Daffodil

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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