We all know that people will do anything to be fashionable don’t we, and each of us has probably been guilty of wearing something silly in the name of fashion.
Generally, the worst case scenario in these silly fashionable choices is a twisted ankle or unpleasant chafing. Unfortunately for the girls in this article from 1911 their choice of clothing resulted in death.
During a holiday at a summer resort in Russia the two sisters were boating with a student just a few yards off the shore when they capsized.
The other person in the boat made it to shore, but despite being good swimmers and so close to safety both of the girls drowned.
What was this deadly fashion you ask? Belted-below-the-knee hobble skirts. Not really suitable boating attire is it?
I wonder if anything else contributed to their drowning. I mean, if you really are a good swimmer surely you could channel the Little Mermaid and swim a few yards to shore. Maybe the hobble skirts were made from fast sinking wool from extra heavy sheep?
I have done a post about the perils of the hobble skirt before, in 1910 a woman made the mistake of getting dressed in her hobble skirt while she was upstairs. Yeah, you know what happened next… (Go on, have a look at the post, she wasn’t the only member of her family to die unexpectedly…)
On the 16th of January 1797 a man named Mr. John Hetherington was bold enough to walk the streets dressed in something completely astounding ‘with the evident intention of frightening the people’. This article of clothing was so unexpected that the mere sight of it caused women to faint, children to scream and one boy was thrown down in fright and broke his arm.
Thrown down, not fell down. Hmmmm…. Was one of the screaming women his mother who dumped her son on the ground in order to cover her eyes from a terrifying sight?
I am sure you are dying to know what this awful item was, aren’t you? Well, brace yourself….
Mr. Hetherington had the gall to wear the first high silk hat. Yep. A startling hat ‘covered with very glossy silk, the lustre of which dazzled the sight’ was the cause of this disturbance.
What an innocent time 1912 must have been if the sight of an extra shiny, extra tall hat in the street caused such a scene.
The trendsetting Mr Hetherington was fined £500 for disorderly conduct and inciting a riot. That would have been a massive sum back then! Imagine how many more modest hats he could have bought for that?
I thought I would follow up last weeks Melbourne Cup post with a post about the fashion on the day.
Fashion is a huge part of Cup Day and the Spring Racing Carnival, and, although I am not much of a fashion lover I am always interested in the hotly contested fashions Fashions on the Field.
Why, you say? Well, because the one who wins isn’t flaunting a frock from a famous designer, it is usually won by an imaginative person who spent hours making their own dress or adapting a pre-loved frock to their own design.
This year it was won by 22-year-old Amy Robson(Herald-Sun), whose grandmother helped her hand paint the myriad beads on an op-shop (thrift shop for you in the U.S.) handbag and turn it into a peplum that was the feature of her dress. Yeah, I had to look it up, don’t think for a second I knew what it was.
Fashions on the Field was started in 1962 with generous prizes to encourage more women to go to the races. If only the VRC had what they were unleashing when they decided to make fashion a big part of the Spring Racing Carnival!
If you are interested in more about the Fashions on the Field melbournecup.com has an interesting decade by decade breakdown.
I have done a post before about fashion that kills, a hobble skirt that well and truly hobbled the wearer, and these two cases from 1923 detail other unlikely ends thanks to vengeful attire.
In the first case an Italian girl fainted at a ball. When attended to by a doctor it was discovered that one of the bone stays in her corset had snapped, penetrating her skin.
This minor injury should have not been too much of a problem, except for the fact that the bone had been soaked in prussic acid. She died of blood poisoning.
The second victim, Mademoiselle Lapille, was another victim of fashion choices. At a dance (again!) a friend used a fox stole to playfully nip the Mademoiselle’s nose with the sharp teeth. Very soon after the offended nose reacted and swelling spread over the attached face. Although an operation was performed (what sort of operation do you think?), the unfortunate Mademoiselle Lapille died soon after.
Both of these cases involved using bits of dead animal to create fashion. I wonder if the women’s deaths were some sort of karmic revenge?
Since yesterdays article was about a fashionable womans toothy downfall, I thought I would continue the theme with another article about historical fashion.
I thought the trend for using small dogs as animated accessories was a fairly recent one but this article from 1905 tells me that it is one that has been resurrected. These women had much more exotic pets though didn’t they?
A marmoset at the races? Intriguing! I’m not sure that these animals ever enjoyed their days out as much as their keepers though.
I like the “at least one of her pets” part of this article. It immediately brings to mind the day some woman makes a terrible choice of which pet to take out for the day only to find they don’t get along. I have visions of the marmoset and the chameleon at the opera, both battling for supremacy in the society ladies best wig.
I can partly understand the appeal of a chameleon. It is one pet who would always match your shoes and bag isn’t it 😉
In Melbourne we have a thing called the Spring Racing Carnival in October and November. It is a time when people who love horse racing get dressed up and celebrate with the like-minded. It is also a time that people who don’t know much about horses but love to get dressed up and do a bit of celebrating let loose.
Every year there are tales of disaster in the social pages, and the track carparks are full of people who are suddenly regretting the decisions they have made under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol.
I thought this article was very funny, even though it is from 1888 it could well refer to the jealous rivalries that swirl through the crowd at the racing next year too.
This is a funny tale of the competition for attention between Miss A___ and Miss R___ at the Rockhampton races.
Although Miss A___ was the recipient of the majority of the attention she made the mistake of opening her mouth a little too widely when she was cheering the winner past the post and out popped her shiny false teeth.
Miss R___ was quick to see her opportunity to humiliate her rival and pounced. Holding the teeth aloft she politely but loudly returned them to their owner.
Poor Miss A___ immediately fainted and was carried home on a stretcher, her days at the top of the socialite set at an end. Oh, the humiliation!