Chicest at the Party
There is something about a touch of black with soft pink that is so historic yet fresh at the same time. This Emilia Wickstead (my go-to event designer) dress for me is reminiscent of portraits by the 18th century artists Thomas Gainsborough where many of his sitters are wearing pastel blush and blue hues grounded with pieces of black fabric tied around their necks and wrists or topped with extravagant black hats.
Emilia has taken this classical palette and her signature ladylike silhouette and twisted it for a modern interpretation. By accessorizing the dress with these de la Renta beaded earrings and soft velvet bag and shoes, the outfit subtly combines different eras giving it a modern and cool feeling.
There is no better example of this historic reference than the ineffable Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana Cavendish, depicted here in 1787 by Gainsborough. Revelled as a style icon in the 18th century, Georgiana was a great socialiser, activitist, political campaigner and author. She has been a source of inspiration for many designers over the decades and was portrayed by Keira Knightley in the 2008 film The Duchess. A must see for any fashion lover.
Contemporarily Georgiana's multi-faceted interests and activities are completely in-sync with the current wave of '/' careers and the ambitions of millennials who explore their passions building varied careers and path simultaneously.
To see more examples of this periods use of pastels and black google Thomas Gainsborough portraits and you will see exemplarily works of some of the periods most beautiful and glamorous women. His work is a perfect combination of art and fashion history.
If you are fortunate enough to be in England at some point before the 22nd of October there is an exhibition at Chatsworth House (worth a visit itself) chronicling the house's fashion dynasty, House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion where you can learn more, not only about Georgiana's style and influence but also the other significant women of the family.