Saturday, March 26, 2011

Circle Game: 100 Years Ago

Kate Middleton. I got this picture from a fashion website. It is clear what her role is: fashion role model.

Just to prove my point: that "The Tighsolas Era" is an important one, the media is featuring quite a few important articles about 100 years ago, in 1911.

Sunday Morning promoted an HBO documentary (playing today in Canada) about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (Actually Triangle Waist Factory) and the New York Times had an editorial this morning about a topic I have covered extensively on this blog: the fear of immigrants.

The editorialist did what I did, he looked up old newspaper articles online to find that the US was so freaked out about this wave of immigrants, tidal wave, that it sent out researchers to analyze them, or deconstruct their personalities.

If you read articles from Macleans magazine from the era, they do the same thing, although usually in praise of whatever ethnicity they were writing about.
Anyway, to do my part here, I thought I'd report on an article in the 1911 Food and Cookery Magazine. The July 1911 edition.

The Coronation of George V was big news here, but Food and Cookery Magazine decided he was getting enough press and wrote about Queen Mary. The article was titled "The Woman in the Coronation."

We have read with great interest legends revived, have tried to picture to ourselves the banquet which required eight tons of gold plate in the serving, but to the woman, one of the two central figures in the scene, has hardly been accorded the recognition which is hers. ...Queen Alexandra departed from the tradition which robed a queen in purple and ermine, her robe was of red rose which matched exactly the robe of the King. To Westminster Queen Mary returned to the earlier custom.

The deep ivory satin for her robe was made at Baintree and the embroidery of both dress and robe was done by the Ladies' Work Society or Princess Louisa Needlework School. Deftly wrought into the pattern was the English rose, the Scottish Thistle, the star and lotus lily of India.

A border of English oak leaves and acorns worked into the finest gold thread framed this patriotic design.

True to her purposed, that everything pertaining to the coronation be made by her British subjects, she ordered the velvet made in Suffolk where the hand loom is still found.

For years Alexandra was enthroned in the hearts of the British People. Even as the wife of the Prince of Wales, by the rare charm of her lovely personality, by the fascination of her wonderful beauty, by the calm dignity, she won the heart of the nation.

It is not easy for Queen Mary to take her place. She has been essentially a home loving mother. It has been a pleasure to see her personally attend to some of the details of the education of her children; she has enjoyed teaching her children to sew and embroider, arts in which she is proficient. She has been as happy as the most democratic American mother in trundling her baby about the garden.

Coming to the postion on England's throne, she brings to her performance of her public duties the same high ideas that characterize her home life.

She may not dominate even indirectly by her inherent executive ability; she may not charm by the gift of great beauty, but she should make an appeal to every womanly woman of every nation, for she shares with these woman a common crown, the crown of wife hood and mother hood and glories in the wearing of that crown....

Hmmm. I can't help but think of that scene in the King's Speech where Queen Mary coldly recoils from her son when he cries at the thought of being king and tries to get a hug. She sure brought up messed up sons.
This article is a load of B.S. of course, but it was 'instruction' in the age of the New Woman and Suffragette.

Something to remember when they media coverage of William and Kate's Royal Wedding gets rolling. It's all BS designed to sell stuff. Of course, Kate will be the big draw, visually, not William. In the past 100 years, women have been driving the Consumer Society, so the spotlight is always on pretty young women, the woman who spend the most on their looks, and are nice to look at in pretty clothes. I wonder if Kate is having poor kids help from the projects or estates as they are called, add details to her wedding dress.
If she's really trendy, she'll be texting her friends as she walks down the aisle. Or Twittering. "God, my garter belt is cutting into my thigh."