The Original Red Death?! An Antique Victorian Fancy Dress Costume Fit for a Phantom
October 28, 2016
The perfect outfit for threatening guests at your next Masquerade!
Hello and Happy October, world! This blog began over 5 years ago this month when my very first post went live on October 5th, 2011.
Great Galloping Galoshes, how things have changed!
My blog is now old enough to be trusted with knives, open flames, and witchcraft according to antique greeting cards.
I’m so proud…*sniff*
5 years ago to the day (on October 28th, 2011), I posted a photo of a delightful vintage fancy dress costume in honor of Halloween:
To pay homage to that anniversary, here’s another amazing fancy dress costume I recently found on eBay: a STUNNING Victorian version of a Tudor gentleman!
From the seller’s description:
“This is a complete outfit for a young nobleman of the Renaissance, 5 pieces:
– the doublet, (inner front is padded)
– the breeches [trunk hose]
– the cape
– the hat and
– the scabbard belt”
It’s encrusted with faceted jet black glass beads and buttons– an elegant look in full sunlight, but even more decadent and glittering in the light of gaslamps and candles!
(And I can’t be the only one getting Phantom of the Opera vibes, right…right?!)
Judging by the colors, shapes, and especially the trims, this handsome outfit likely dates between 1885 and 1895–more likely the latter (that’s when black beaded trim was in vogue and just look at that cape…it screams 1890s!) This fabulous fancy dress costume could have either been worn for one of the many costumed balls popular during the late 19th century, made for a sumptuous Shakespearean spectacle, or donned during an opulent opera. Whatever the event, the costume has survived in superb condition! It is made of, as the seller perfectly put it, “soft red silk satin, the finest lightweight silky clothing velvet, very thin brown and cream polished [cotton] for the inner linings of the doublet and breeches.”
I do believe the trunk hose are displayed backwards. The buttons probably went in back and the open “butt” was worn in front– filled in with a (now missing) codpiece, of course! Since it’s a Victorian recreation, it probably wouldn’t have been a very exciting codpiece by 16th century standards, though. ;P
The full list of detailed measurements:
Cape height : 29″ width at top: 17″ width at bottom : 107″
Doublet Armpit to armpit : 20″ (chest about 40″) length : 20″ 1/2 collar : 17″ waist flat : 21″ chest flat : 19″ 1/2
Breeches waist : 15″ 1/2 to 16″ 1/2 legs opening : 21 ” length : 17 ”
Hat inside: 21″ 1/2 length: 11″
Such a miraculously fine bit of fantasy to survive in such condition for 120 years!