Saturday, 6 February 2016

An Edwardian Affair

I was watching the film A Room With A View the other day and realised that I haven't lost my teenage love for the Edwardian era.

Thinking about it, I originally put the blame on the 1979 ITV series Flambards based on the novels by K.M. Peyton and set between the 1900s and 1910s. The story was based on a love triangle (all the best ones are!) between Christina and her half-cousins William and Mark; it had me fascinated - so much so that I even had to buy the books from the series, which I still have.

Then I realised that those Sunday afternoon films I had watched in my 1970s childhood such as Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Go-Between and The Railway Children might have subconsciously sowed the seeds for my later Edwardian love affair.

Rolling forward a few years into the 1980s, the visual delight that comprised the Merchant Ivory adaptations of E.M Forster novels fuelled this love.  I thought Helena Bonham-Carter was mesmerising (I still do) as she flounced about in her cotton lawn dresses with beguiling wisps of hair framing her beautiful face; willed that Maurice and Alec would finally get together in the film Maurice and riled at the class snobbery in Howards End.

The Eighties was also a great time to buy Edwardian clothes cheaply. Those narrow Edwardian shoes didn't fit my teenage feet; however the cotton camisoles and petticoats with their intricate embroidery, crochet and thread-work did. In flea markets and antique shops I found lovely velvet jackets and linen duster coats with their large mother-of-pearl buttons. If I was particularly lucky, I might come across an almost sheer cotton blouse inset with lace panels. I happily jumbled these clothes up together with de-mob jackets and waistcoats, jeans from the local market or long fringed black Indian import 'Goth' skirts. 

Unfortunately I don't have any of these clothes left now, with them being lost in house moves or too far gone to be repaired and thrown away. Mind you, I probably wouldn't fit into them now if I did. 

However, old habits die hard and all these years later I still hold onto my love of Edwardiana. From the silver sovereign holder that Dad gave me which still gets worn regularly, to a monogrammed leather purse that I use daily. Its the best purse I've ever had with its numerous slots and compartments...

...and I still can't resist buying those camisoles that fit as they're perfect for summer.

Looks like it'll be a long-term love affair!


  1. Helena B-C does rock the look for sure, and I love your purse and that sovereign holder pendant. I don't think I have anything Edwardian clothing wise, but I did buy a fab Edwardian jardiniere only yesterday so I have been languidly admiring my parlour palm in its new home!

  2. Flambards! Good lord, I haven't thought about that series for years! Yes, the Edwardian era has a really pretty style about it, and those Merchant Ivory films made the most of the look. Don't you feel nostalgic for the days when you could pick up really interesting and very old pieces for next to nothing at jumble sales and charity shops? xxx

  3. I do love those camisoles! And Helena Bonham-Carter will always be one of my icons.

  4. You make me want to dig out my Merchant Ivory in India boxed set and spend the rest of the day lounging on the settee with the Sailor Jerry's! xxx

  5. I love Picnic at Hanging Rock, although that picture of Jenny Agutter in The Railway Children really just served as a reminder of how exactly the same she looks now! (and that I haven't watched this week's Call the Midwife yet - thanks!)

  6. I love some Edwardian fashion, I always get a hankering for it cone the autumn xxx


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