This lively, illustrated book about Victorian costume during the first part of Queen Victoria's reign is a delightful introduction to a particularly rich era in costume history. From Queen to Empress vividly evokes fashionable society in Victorian England and America through paintings of the period, contemporary illustrations and photographs, and striking costume photographs taken especially for this volume.
In separate chapters devoted to royal influence, underdress, evening and day wear, mourning attire, wedding clothes, and court dress, the author, a member of the staff of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, offers a highly readable account of the ways in which fashion influenced the dress of all but the very poorest sections of the population.
By 1837, the year of Victoria's accession to the throne, the simple silhouette and printed cottons of the early nineteenth century had already begun to give way to a more elaborate style of dress. Luxurious silks and an extraordinary diversity of shapes—including huge domed skirts and elaborately molded corsets made possible by new dressmaking techniques—marked the fashionable Victorian woman by the time Queen Victoria was declared Empress of India.
From Queen to Empress accompanies an exhibition opening at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in December 1988.