Tag Archives: Earth Day

Gowns That Copy Flowers: 1901


les fleurs animees daisy 1847

The Daisies, from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847


Summer Girl’s Latest Fad Is to Copy Nature’s Blossoms

Flower gowns are the fad of this year’s summer girl. She is now busy collecting the gowns for the various resorts where she will be an enchanting figure, and as she may copy every flower that blows, provided the color combination is becoming, there is scarcely a limit to her ingenuity and gowns except the size of her purse. The idea is poetical enough to satisfy even the most romantic of maidens, and the, result may be achieved at small cost, particularly if the maiden be deft of finger. One of the simplest and prettiest of these frocks is the daisy gown. It is made, of sheer white goods, with a touch of yellow either, as a girdle, a knot at the throat, or, what is even more consistent, a single large chou on the front of the corsage. A violet gown copies the hue of this favorite flower and has a touch of green, while the orchid frock shows an artistic blending of purple and lilac, with a little dash of yellow.

les fleurs animee capuchine nasturtium

Nasturtium / Capuchine from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847

The girl who is fond of red and has a weakness for daring combinations will not omit a nasturtium gown from her wardrobe. This is exceedingly Frenchy when well done, but takes the eye of an artist to gain the proper effect, for reds are treacherous colors and are apt to swear very loudly at each other if the greatest care is not used in their selection.

In this particular instance as many as four shades of red are introduced, ranging from a pink to a deep raspberry, and while almost all of the other flower frocks are most effective when made of thin goods that belong to the “wash” family, the nasturtium gown, to be really stunning, should be of some soft wool goods, or of silk, panne velvet or satin.

les fleurs animees bluet and poppy 1847

Cornflower and Poppy, from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847

Another charming thing in red follows the fashion set by the poppy, and is a vivid crimson, relieved with a bit of black. For a dainty little blonde there is nothing more charming than a forget-me-not gown of pale blue with a belt of soft yellow, while if a deeper blue is desired the cornflower may be copied.

The girl who likes pink catches her note from the carnation and appears in a pretty little pink affair relieved with a bit of green, while the dashing brunette who dares to don yellow has the daffodil as a model.

les fleurs animees pansy 1847

Pansy, from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847

One great charm of these novel frocks is their fluffiness and daintiness. They must be as fresh and pleasing in color as their flower prototypes, and while they may have all the ruffles, tucks, lace and hand work that distinguish this season’s gowns, they must not be too elaborate or gaudy. As a finishing touch, after each gown is completed it is laid away in a sachet of the flower it represents, so that if the observer is too dull to catch its meaning it tells the secret in its perfume as well as by its coloring. Orris root is used as the fragrance for the daisy gown.

The Minneapolis [MN] Journal 29 June 1901: p. 20

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Mrs Daffodil often wonders if the novelties described in the fashion papers were meticulously copied by assiduous readers, or if they were merely aspirational. It is one thing to create a fanciful flower frock, but laying away each gown with a matching flower-scented sachet is a nicety usually only found in the sort of “Frenchy” novels written by Elinor Glyn, rather than at resorts frequented by poetical-minded Summer Girls.

One might carry the floral theme a bit further by hosting A Violet Luncheon and urging guests to dress as that flower. If one was more earthly in temperament, one might hold a Vegetable Fancy Dress party. For the floral fanatic, there were various Floral Fetes, combining fashion and flower-bedecked motor-cars. Mrs Daffodil also wonders if a cactus costume was ever created, to keep the summer-resort fortune-hunters at bay?

les fleurs animee cactus

Cactus, from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847


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 anecdote

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.

Hints for Earth Day Economies: 1859-1903

Although Monday was, Mrs Daffodil is reliably informed,  “Earth Day,” a time to take stock of how we use the resources of the planet, there is never a bad day to reflect on consumption and its consequences. There has been a societal move against “fast fashion” and a resurgence of “Make Do and Mend.”  Mrs Daffodil will, therefore, “recycle” several posts on the subject of domestic economy in dress, on the clever makers-over of tired garments, and the second-hand clothing trade.

One would go far before one would discover a more ingenious clan than these Southern Ohio ladies and their cunning tricks of skillful fingers.

Although this lady, who traded in second-hand silks and this gentleman, who prospered in left-over laundry, are an inspiration to all of us.

Some clever gentlemen took a leaf from the ladies’ domestic economy books and learned to update and repair their wardrobes.

A fascinating tour of a 19th-century “recycling” firm and an examination of the “rag trade.”

The second-hand trade was a boon to actresses, and the buying, selling, and hiring of costly gowns worn by the Four Hundred, was a practice well-known to the upper echelons of Society.

The second-hand clothing trade extended even unto royalty, as we see in this peep at Queen Victoria’s stockings.

One of Mrs Daffodil’s heroines is this resourceful lady, who set herself up as a “Dress Doctor,” long before Hollywood costumer Edith Head co-opted that title.

Of course, selling one’s evening dresses involve some unwitting “recycling,” as this lady found to her dismay:

Not long ago (write “X and Z” in the Globe) a lady in dealing with the proprietress of a second-hand clothing business, sold to her several evening dresses, which were perfectly fresh and good, but which she could not wear again, as her friends knew them too well. They had probably been worn three times each. The second-hand wardrobe lady remarked, by the way, that all her purchases were for the colonies. Seems odd, does it not? But to return. A few days after the gowns were sold their original owner missed a very pretty old-fashioned diamond clasp, and, inquiring of her maid, discovered to her tribulation that it was in one of the evening dresses she had sold. “Sewn firm on the left shoulder, my lady,” quoth the maid. She proceeded diplomatically to work, sent the maid to the shop, and, in consequence of her operations there, became again the possessor of her discarded gown at exactly seven times the price she had sold it for. The diamond clasp was still in it, its safety being due to proximity to a mass of crystal trimming which formed an epaulette, the clasp having been added with a view to making the whole mass look “good.”

Otago Witness 9 February 1893: p. 42


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.

The Floral Fête: 1892


A Floral Phaeton Santa Barbara


In April 19 the city of Santa Barbara California, engaged in a magnificent Floral Festival, a “Battle of Flowers,” which lasted four days. The affair was a success from first to last, and reflects great credit upon the inhabitants of the city, for everybody from mayor to common citizen seemed to have a hand in the enterprise. The event was evidently based upon both sentiment and good sense; it was a grand holiday, adapted to the tastes of all, from gray-haired men and matrons down to little children. And much to the credit of the city be it said that those elements which during public holidays so frequently lead to excesses of various kinds were entirely wanting. This open-air flower-festival was as innocent and pure as it was gay and cheerful.

santa barbara floral fete tandem floral cart

In our churches and Sabbath schools a day known as Floral Day has for some year been quite generally observed. The Santa Barbara festival was an enlargement of this—a city instead of a mere congregation participating. Such consistent methods of engaging in public festivals are commendable, and it is with pleasure that we devote space in this issue to some notice of the event.

Before the visit of President Harrison to the Pacific Coast early in the current year, C. F. Eaton, of Monticello. suggested among ways of showing general appreciation of the presence of our chief magistrate a “Battle of Flowers,” such as may be seen every year in the city of Nice, France. The idea was adopted and the result was so satisfactory that later on a score of the leading citizens resolved to inaugurate an annual season of floral festivities. For this purpose the Santa Barbara Floral Festivities Association was formed. This year witnesses the first season of its usefulness. It is the intention of the association to incorporate, and thus to provide for such a festival yearly in Santa Barbara.

floral wheels of the bicycle club santa barbara

This season’s festivities began with a display of horticultural products in the pavilion at the fair grounds. Owing to the lateness of the season and the remarkable weather of the past month. it had been feared that this would not be a very brilliant success. So much is always expected of Santa Barbara because of her celebrity as the home of the rose and many subtropical flowers, that more than one true friend of the city shook his head over the prospects of the horticultural exhibit. But it was a decided and pronounced success, as all who visited the pavilion testified.

Santa barbara carriage in louis style

But the great event of the carnival was the street procession which signalized the triumphal entry of the goddess Flora to this fair city. At an early hour of the day on which it took place, the people on the main street had begun to decorate their several places of business so that all might be in readiness for the pageant of floral cars and other vehicles passing. Much taste was shown in adorning the buildings, and garlands, cornucopias, vines, pampas-plumes, evergreens, flags and hunting were everywhere used in abundance. Many windows were converted into flower-gardens, filled with lilies, roses and other flowers.

The day itself was all that could be desired for making a success of the procession. All the forenoon State street was one surging mass of pedestrians and carriages. Hundreds of strangers were everywhere present, every street-car was filled, and the busses and hacks did a thriving business. All the people were bent on having a thoroughly good time and on making the most of the day.

Santa Barbara decorations of Devoniensis roses

It was nearly two o’clock when the procession began to move. The first vehicle that followed the band of music and the marshal with his aids was a grand floral float twenty feet long and eight feet wide, drawn by four large gray horses ridden by boys and led by four men dressed in semi-oriental costumes. The float stood about five feet from the ground and from the top downward was draped with moss and calla-lilies. The top was painted and upholstered to resemble water upon which floated five shell-like boats. The four smaller boats were occupied by beautiful young girls. Each boat was supplied with golden oars and silken sails. In the larger and more beautiful boat sat the goddess Flora— Senorita Carmelita Dibblee. Behind the goddess and rising above her was a very handsome canopy of silk— outside yellow, inside pale azure-blue with delicate figures of small roses. This was draped with tassels and ropes of silk. The sails were of white satin. Ribbons of satin passed from each boat to the hands of the goddess.

Of the many other vehicles which entered into the pageant, there is not space to give a description here. Some of them are shown in the annexed engravings, made from photographs. Suffice it to say that they represented the application of much taste and skill, while it was plain to see that flowers without stint were available for the occasion. One native flower of which all Californians are proud — the eschscholtzia, was used with lavish profusion, and roses loading the air with fragrance, lilies, callas, marguerites, smilax and wild brodiaeas were among other kinds freely employed.

During the four days of the festival a brilliant reception, a grand tournament, and a ball were given; also a competitive display of flowers and fruits, for which numerous cash prizes were given. No sooner was the floral fête-day over, than the participants began to consider the good reasons apparent for an annual perpetuation of the day in Santa Barbara. It is to be hoped the example here set forth may be widely heeded, and that such fête-days may be multiplied throughout our land.

American Gardening 1892: pp. 395-396

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Mrs Daffodil is desolate at not having any illustrations of the shell-like boats of the Goddess Flora and her attendants, but hopes that the floral carriages will make up for the lack. Mrs Daffodil understands that there is a similar entertainment held every year in Pasadena, California called “The Rose Bowl Parade” where floats entirely made of various sorts of vegetation delight viewers. It has something to do with American foot-ball, which is not the proper sort, so details are scanty in the British papers.

Mrs Daffodil normally leaves matters floral to the gardeners, but Angus McKew, head gardener at the Hall, has been good enough to inform Mrs Daffodil that the Eschscholzia is also known as the California Poppy, while brodiaeas are commonly called “cluster-lilies.” Mrs Daffodil is greatly obliged to Mr McKew and will try to temper the Hall’s requests for cut flowers.


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.