Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Striped Loveliness of the Sleepy Hollow Polonaise

As Sleepy Hollow (1999) draws to a close, our pretty protagonist Katrina Van Tassel, played by Christina Ricci, dons a lovely striped a la Polonaise dress.

Katrina's black and white gown, bodice
Katrina's black and white gown, back
Katrina's gown reminds me very much of this robe retroussée dans les poches of striped white and red silk. The pattern and cut are very similar, though the color scheme is different.

Source: Kyoto Costume Institute  
When the English enlightened habit of walking in the countryside and enjoying exercise made its way into the fashionable circles of France, ladies adopted this robe retroussée dans les poches.The skirt was pulled through the slits in the dress and arranged at the back to mimic the style of working-class women, who needed  their clothes to be comfortable and practical. The white and red stripes heighten the effect of the folds.

Yet this afternoon dress from the House of Worth from 1890s is quite similar to Katrina's striped gown. The style is quite different, of course, but it would seem that this frock also belongs in a Tim Burton film.

House of Worth, dress, front 

House of Worth, dress, back
In fact, I'm beginning to suspect that Mr Burton spends much of his time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a notepad and a pencil.        

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