Monday, 7 February 2011

Victorian Orphan Chic

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The last few days have been hugely windy. Great gusts throw whirling leaves and birds into the heavy sky, and stray fragments of wind whistle down the chimney and moan in my hearthplace. A perfect night, in short, to imagine myself as a Victorian orphan in an attic.

I've always loved the Victorian period for styling and verging-on-the-sentimental drama, full of girls bereft at an early age who only manage to pull through due to an overactive imagination and innate sense of right and wrong. In London, it's even easier to identify with these past heroines, as I walk past rows of Georgian houses with the top windows overlooking the sparrows among the chimney pots.

What is Victorian Orphan chic? A hungry look, a pale complexion, a too-short but well made dress from days before poverty struck, and a borrowed book for keeping oneself educated. : )
My two favourite Victorian orphan heroines are Emily (of course) from Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery and Sara Crewe from Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess.

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I fancy I have their same roving imaginations, curiosity for all kinds of books, and Emily's literary leanings... unlike Sara though, I have no attic rat to make friends with, since the pest control man took care of our resident mice earlier this week.

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Goodnight!

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P.S. If you only know A Little Princess through the abominable film version, don't let that turn you off. A classic example of a bad American remake. No offense to any Americans, but why does Hollywood have to take other cultures' literary and cinematic treasures, and remake them boring and bad, with a miscast American star? On the other hand, there's no excuse for the awful Canadian TV adaptation of the Emily books. It's our own cultural heritage we were destroying there...

velvet dress: vintage
lace: fabric shop
shoes: Camper (they are really comfy, to the person who wanted to know before, and I believe they're available in the States...)
rings: Whitby and Grannie

58 comments:

Raquel said...

Oh it's the velvet dress again :) I only wore mine once and left it at my dad's :|
I love these "vintage" pictures, messing with picnik were you? ;) The first thing i thought was not Victorian though, it was actually of "Wednesday Adams, and please take it as a compliment! I adore the way she dresses, I actually dressed as Wednesday for "Carnaval" one year in middle school haha, too bad I don't have pictures of it...

I shouldn't probably confess this, but I haven't read either of those books, and do not worry because I haven't seen any American films either haha.

Erin D said...

I love Emily of New Moon <3 Great style!

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Raquel: Well, I think Wednesday Adams is a Victorian orphan at heart! And you're allowed not to have read them... you're Portuguese! I can't think of a single Portuguese book that I have read.... ; ) For that matter, now I'm trying to think if I've seen any Portuguese films... ... ...

Flopy said...

Wow!! I loove the pictures they look like if they were old :) And the velvet dress as usual amazing!



http://charmingflopy.blogspot.com/

Emily, Resplendent Tranquility said...

Gah, I love this! You've captured the Victorian orphan look perfectly in both outfit and photo composition.

So, I made it through season 3 of Emily of New Moon and not without laughing through most of it. In fact, I even felt embarrassed watching it. Why it was ever butchered so is beyond my comprehension. Other than liking the setting and the lore of yesteryear, I'm finished giving it any more chances. Just think of how appalled Lucy Maud Montgomery would be.

L. said...

Oh! Fashion inspiration in unlikely places...I love it :) These are very compelling pictures, your hair looks very cute! I love both of those books! And I did like the Little Princess film but maybe because I was 10 the last time I watched it and I loved the hair ribbons and flouncy frocks!

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Emily: Yup, it's ridiculously awful. Better to read the book again instead!

@L. I hear you. I think I hated it so much because it was one of my favourite books as a child and they simply murdered it... and I'm kind of intolerant of these things. ; D

Raquel said...

Oh maybe you heard of the film "Blindness"? It is an American adaptation of a Portuguese Nobel prize of Literature winner book, José Saramago, with the same name in English but the original being "Ensaio sobra a cegueira". I could recommend more but I'll leave it for when I meet you in London ;)
About Portuguese films, not much that I like either, probably none, or at least that I can remember right now.

Alicia said...

Gah, I love this post! Your photos and outfit definitely capture the Victorian orphan mystique (I looooove the dress, especially). A Little Princess is my all-time favorite book; my copy is in extremely well-loved tatters. I actually like the 90s film version; it's not at all faithful to the book, but something about it just gets to me. If I keep it in a separate compartment in my brain from the book, it ends up being okay. The Shirley Temple version was flippin' awful, though!

Katie @ Beautifully Pure said...

Lovely outfit! You remind me of Sarah in it and with your hair like that. ;-)

Francis Hodgson Burnett is one of my favorite authors. The Secret Garden has been my favorite book since I was five. <3 I would describe what I like about it so much, but that would take far too long.

I also really like L.M. Montgomery, though I haven't read that book. I've only read Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island and Kilmeny of the Orchard - I loved them all so much! <3

~ Katie
http://www.beautifully-pure.com

CessOviedo said...

Omg! These are perfect, you're look is so misterious and so is the outfit! Love the conceptuality!

http://blog.cessoviedo.com

La pépite modeuse said...

great pics :)

Rebeccak said...

Haha I had to do a double-take when I saw the title of this post. A bit unusual! But you pull off this look beautifully!

I also love the Victorian era (heck, I am writing a doctorate on that time), but I find it really hard to interpret into fashion without feeling completely overdressed, weighed down and silly. I think you've done really well here! Perhaps the shot is to take inspiration from less structured children's clothes? :)

Ginger Snap'♥ said...

Ah these photos are lovely! I love the outfit too. Thankyou for your very sweet comment

http://www.gingerrsnap.blogspot.com/

Rebecca's Vintage Romance said...

You look amazing, these photos are so good. I thought they were old photographs before I recognised that it as actually you haha!
I completely agree with you. I don't understand why people have to re-make films over & over, it ruins them, especially ones originating from books.
Rebecca x
www.rebeccas-vintage-romance.blogspot.com

Stef / Diversions said...

Those orphan girls :) You got the attic chic downpat :D

I used to cry my eyes out over Perrine and often imagined my wendy house to be a cart moving across country like in the animated series.

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Raquel: Oh, actually, I did read Blindness, I completely forgot. Although obviously I read it in English, and it was such a depressing book that I forgot it again afterwards. ; D

@Alicia: The best version I've seen of A Little Princess is a BBC TV one from the 90s I think. It used to be available in my local library. It was really faithful and the girl who played Sara was great!

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Rebeccak: I think the children's clothing is definitely the way to go! The lengths are more appropriate for these days too. : )

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Stef: Perrine sounds great... I wish I'd grown up with her too!

Velvet said...

You've achieved your goal! You really look as a victorian girl.

Thanks for your nice comment, Emily.

Have a nice week.

Amber Blue Bird said...

wow i think these are my favorite photos you have posted..is that weird? A Little Princess is such a great book, much better than the movie but I tend to think that way about most book-to film adaptations

deppa said...

Oh I don't have a victorian heroin, maybe is time to find one.
I love the photos, they are very artistic. Great post!

See you!

Monique said...

You look stunning in these photos... I love the lighting and will add those books to my cue. Yes, I'm American and I have to admit that many American adaptations are sucky. I find myself watching foreign films quite often. Happy Monday!

Nicole, Coco Maria said...

Oh goodness, these pictures are so great! I love the idea of trying to dress up as though you're in another time period. Also, those look like some books I would like to read! :)

A Little Brighter said...

Ohh these photos are absolutely stunning!! Adore every part of this outfit and I absolutely adore Miss Crewe!!.

I must admit it has been a long time since I have read the books, but the movie was by far one of my favourite growing up.. it totally surprises me that you hated it haha!

Ayesha x

Closet Fashionista said...

Love this shoot! so fun :D
Yes...my roommate made me suffer through the Little Princess movie..haha...bad bad XD
(and yes...I don't get why we insist on making bad movie adaptions of books....though Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter as well as a few others should be excluded from the bad ones, haha)
http://aclosetfashionista.blogspot.com/

Terri said...

What a mood this invokes! The little lace bowtie, the buttons on the cuff. I've not read either of these books and take no national responsibility for the variety of ways our filmmakers butcher perfect good books.

sojourned in style said...

the little princess is my childhood favourite book! love the remake of the utmost accuracy I might add! the humility of this simple ensemble is beautiufl. the dress is lovely and the the bow tie a cute fixture.

Carrie said...

This post made me smile. I loved The Little Princess in all it's forms - except maybe the Shirley Temple form... :-)

NRIGirl said...

I have ignored A Little Princess for a long time, but now after your words, I am tempted to read it... Good night!

A said...

@Emily,

Write is awesome. Concise yet descriptive. First picture is nice.

Jade "Purple" Brown said...

these photos are gorgeous, great outfit post!

jadepurplebrown.com

20 York Street said...

Wow, these photos are brilliant, I don't know how you do it! I agree with you on the Canadian version, Oye Vey!

xox,

ML
20 York Street

summertime dreams said...

Also loved the Emily books, more than I liked Anne actually....!!

Wendy said...

I absolutely love this shoot.....!! Stunning and well thought out!!!
As always great post!
Wendy
www.wendyinthefashionlane.blogspot.com

Sara and Emma said...

Beautiful dress! This look is innocent yet a bit mysterious, love it<3
xoxo from Sweden
/Sara and Emma

Comtesse de ferveur said...

Oh I love your dress - it's very reminiscient of the illustrations of Sarah Crewe. That was my very favourite childhood book! xxx

pixelhazard said...

Very demure! diggin the wednesday adams vibe

Bright Green Laces

Anthea said...

Love love love these pics! You really look like a Victorian orphan. Not in a bag way though!

Anthea,
Embracing Style

Always Something said...

MATILDA is the worst rendition of a book ever! She's not supposed to keep her powers at the end! Gahhhh it shows how love makes you special thus you no longer have need for powers and this huge beautiful metaphor and gahhhhhh..!!!!

Word sputtering aside, you look stunning in the photos & I envy that dress!

Jenni said...

Vintage velvet dress = love! Great inspiration... I always find myself drawn to velvet and lace and high collars when the weather starts to cool. >D

Victoria said...

Oh My, When I clicked onto your blog and saw the first picture I thought it was of an actual Victorian girl!! It wasn't until I read on that I realised it was you.

Really great pictures and very inspiring, love the dress xxx

Carys said...

'Victorian orphan chic' is the best style ever! I love this outfit!
From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

Annebeth said...

I adore your inspiration and the way you put it into an outfit :) and yes, the movie version of the little princess is sort of really corny, but the story is still so strong so it doesn't suck TOO bad :D

Catita said...

these photos are great and the dress is right on! you should be on the "new" cover of the Emily book!
xoxo
Catita

KIRAFASHION said...

so cute :)))

CAITLIN said...

great photos--you've definitely captured the creepy victorian spirit. i must admit i never identified much with said spirit. i always pictured those houses as big and dark and cold and full of secrets and strange debilitating illnesses. not even gothic, just... sickly or something. i read a little princess when i was younger but i have little recollection of it. another book that comes to mind (with a terrible film adaptation attached) is the secret garden.

Kallie, Happy Honey and Lark said...

The emily of new moon books are AWESOMEEE! I actually love the film versions of a Little Princess (are you talking about the Shirley Temple one or the one from the 90's?).
Your pictures are gorgeous, you look like you could be Emily.

yiqin; said...

the photos effect are so hauntingly beautiful :)

Sofia said...

One. I also love books about Victorian orphans. Particularly these two. Two. You look so fab in these pictures. I can't get enough of them.

sparkle is a color (Katrina) said...

A Little Princess is my favorite, favorite, favorite! But I have to admit...I really like the movie too, haha. I haven't read the Emily book but now I am intrigued.

And the pictures are adorable.

ana said...

Great photos!! and BTW I love the book of the Little Princess!!! is amazing and obligated lecture for everyone!

Newspaper Cut Outs said...

I bawled like a baby reading A Little Princess. I much preferred A Secret Garden. I felt like Frances Burnett celebrated childhood more in that book than A Little Princess. Thanks for your comment on my blog. Its great to know your thoughts on fashion blogging!

~newscutouts from newscutouts.blogspot.com

Tashrin said...

You look incredible.....very different from your usual looks but beautiful in a time gone by manner. :)

Thanks for talking about these two books. I have never heard of them....so I'm off to check them out from the public library...:)

Love

Tashrin - Style musings of a Bengali girl from Toronto, Canada

Molly said...

Love the dress.
LOVE this post.
Love that you are rodent free.

Leaving the House in THIS?!?!

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Molly: Haha, thank you! The mice weren't bothering me too much yet, but they were doing jigs in my flatmates room every night when he went to bed, so they had to go!

Ashley said...

oh my gosh!!!! I LOVE these photos. I may want to recreate this with my own photo shoot sometime :)

Eyeliah said...

what a lovely shoot, breathtaking.