I recently finished Women in Love, and while it isn't my favourite D.H. Lawrence (that is reserved for the magnificent Sons and Lovers) it was definitely beautiful and thought provoking, though very depressing. The descriptions of Ursula and Gudrun's outfits are amazing, especially the colour combinations. Here are some of my favourites:
"Gudrun was the more beautiful and attractive, she had decided again, Ursula was more physical, more womanly. She admired Gudrun's dress more. It was of green poplin, with a loose coat above it, of broad, dark-green and dark-brown stripes. The hat was of a pale, greenish straw, the colour of new hay, and it had a plaited ribbon of black and orange, the stockings were dark green, the shoes black. It was a good get-up, at once fashionable and individual. Ursula, in dark blue, was more ordinary, though she also looked well." (pg. 65)
"The little Italian Contessa wore a dress of tissue, of orange and gold and black velvet in soft wide stripes, Gudrun was emerald green with strange net-work, Ursula was in yellow with dull silver veiling, Miss Bradley was of grey, crimson and jet, Fraulein Marz wore pale blue." (pg.71)
"The sisters both wore dresses of white crepe, and hats of soft grass. But Gudrun had a sash of brilliant black and pink and yellow colour wound broadly round her waist, and she had pink silk stockings, and black and pink and yellow decoration on the brim of her hat, weighing it down a little. She carried also a yellow silk coat over her arm, so that she looked remarkable, like a painting from the Salon." (pg. 127)
"She was fashionably dressed in blackish-green and silver, her hat was brilliant green, like the sheen on an insect, but the brim was soft dark green, a falling edge with fine silver, her coat was dark green, lustrous, with a high collar of grey fur, and great fur cuffs, the edge of her dress showed silver and black velvet, her stockings and shoes were silver grey." (pg.324)
This last one is my absolute favourite- how amazing does it sound? Even though the book is set during the second half of the teens, there is no mention of WWI. The styles described in the book are of that period but in brighter colours and more lavish fabrics than were used during the war. One of the most remarkable parts of their outfits are their silk stockings ("...vermilion, cornflower blue, and grey... knitted, seamless and heavy." pg. 368)- they have them in seemingly every colour of the rainbow and wear them in the most inspirational colour combinations.
"Gudrun was flushed with the rain, her hair blown in loose little curls, she was like a flower just opened in the rain, the heart of the blossom just newly visible, seeming to emit a warmth of retained sunshine... She was wearing a soft blue dress, and her stockings were of dark red." (pg. 233)
I am definitely looking in my closet for the perfect light blue dress to wear with some claret or burgundy stockings. It's too bad that no one makes proper silk stocking anymore- I've found some in antique stores before and they were gorgeous.
Labels: antique, books, d.h. lawrence, edwardian, WWI