A Dickens Victorian Village Tea and Fashion Show did not at first sound appealing to me, but it turned out to be quite an interesting and enjoyable event. The first surprise came upon entering the stunning Masonic Ballroom with its floor to ceiling windows, gleaming dance floor, and ornate tin ceiling.
The tea time treats were a pleasure for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Petite sandwiches, fragile pastries, Devonshire cream, and bite size fruit appeared on tiers, as the perfect companions for your favorite tea served in dainty, floral cups.
Many of those in attendance were dressed in Victorian style with beautiful, large hats and long skirts – a special part of the day. They felt part of a time long past as they enjoyed conversation with friends.
Then appeared Kit and her models from The Alley in Columbus, Ohio. Kit Matulich has enjoyed working with theatrical costumes for thirty years and “wouldn’t trade it for the world.” Some of the clothing she purchases, while other items are donated. The proceeds from those donated go 100% to Easter Seals, which provided equipment for their late daughter, at a time when it was needed.
The vintage clothing and accessories from The Alley Vintage & Costumes had the ladies attending the tea spellbound for over an hour. The Alley’s philosophy is:
You are never too old to play dress up!
Then the parade of models began with Kit and Josef in charge. There’s no way to show you all the models or tell you all the stories about their clothing. So come along with me and view some of my special favorites.
The show began with a parade of undergarments worn by Victorian ladies. Their layers of petticoats seemed too numerous to count. Sometimes these items were washed in urine to cleanse, bleach and purify. Their corsets often had somewhat flexible whalebone to keep their waists very small. Small waists, with extra emphasis on larger hips and busts, were thought attractive.
A beautiful day dress would be fastened with hooks and eyes and even straight pins. All dresses at that time were hand-stitched with pleats, darts, and ruffles. Remember at that time everything had to be washed by hand.
These three delicate gowns contained quality lace so had to be handled quite gently. Waist were very small, often 20″, as girls began wearing corsets at the age of eleven.
A Dickens volunteer lets the ladies have a close-up view of one of the dresses. Those in attendance could actually hold the items in order to appreciate the fine craftsmanship that went into the making of each piece.
Kit showed the oldest wedding gown she has in her store. The fabric is too delicate for the models to wear these days. When a bride was married in Victorian times, she wore her wedding gown to every event they attended for the first year after their marriage.
This WWII uniform of the ambulance corp was made of wool. At this point, ladies removed their corsets and enjoyed the freedom of movement, so a new trend in styles took place.
The models paraded one last time and special honor was given to the lady, who helps with design and dressing. “Without her, we would be lost.”
The day became a memorable one from tea time to fashion show. No one rushed to leave, but felt relaxed from the slower pace of this day resembling a time long past.
So next time someone asks you to attend a fashion show, give it a whirl!
For more information on The Alley, visit their website at http://www.thealleystore.com. They are located in Columbus Ohio at 3502 W.Dublin Granville Road.