In a previous post we looked at Summer inspirations in the embroidered motifs of a kimono. Yet Summer can be evoked also by a particular shade or palette, as proved by the saffron yellow nuance that characterises this lavishly and richly embroidered satin waistcoat from around the 1730s (on display in the Europe 1600-1815 galleries at the V&A in London).
Saffron yellow was fashionable for both men and women until the 1780s and the garment was enriched with embroidery in coloured silk and metal and silver threads that would have created beautiful effects when the light hit them.
The generous length and ample pocket flaps allowed for rich decoration: the design included Rococo motifs such as sinuous patterns of exotic flowers and leaves with feathered scrolls and extravagant forms, though the bold treatment of vegetation hinted at Baroque style. The centre of the large scrolls featured a honeycomb pattern that allowed the rich saffron satin to show through the needlework. Metallic threads were also used for the decorative edging around the neckline.
The length of the right-side waistcoat opening was embellished with decorative passementerie buttons and a single button fastened each cuff. Buttons were worked with silver foil, purl, filé and a silver spangle and, while the upper twelve buttons on the front had a precise function since they fastened the waistcoat, the lower nine buttons served only for decorative purposes. The luxurious shade of yellow employed for this garment instantly conjures up the glamorous life of the courts, but also inspires visions of a warm summer sun. Enjoy!
Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos