Monday, January 9, 2017

Rose Parade - Behind the Scenes

 Another wonderful Rose Parade is done, and we are still glowing from all the excitement.  Have you ever wondered what happens in the 12 hours before the parade even starts?

Velvet Rose and Margarita Rose, club presidents, spend countless hours coordinating the week long events before the actual parade, right up to when we step on to the parade route.
Here is a time line of events just for that one special morning. During the week or two before, horses are given haircuts and are re-shod in special shoes, unless they are walking barefoot.

The horses are bathed generally the day before, especially when they decide to do this at the last minute! Stinky got his parade bath, and was as good as new. 

The evening before the parade, all RVs, horse trailers, campers and trucks meet up in one long caravan for the drive up to Pasadena.  There were stops where we pick up others along the way.  We had everyone in line by 6:30, and off we went.

We arrived in Pasadena a little after 9:00 p.m.  Our night was spent in the Pit, a closed freeway off ramp where we would set up overnight.                                  

It was very well coordinated by Parade volunteers, and we set up fairly quickly.  The  horses were tied up or penned, fed and blanketed. We set up a fire pit and we took some time to relax with family and crew.  

Mariah tucked in for the night in her zebra blanket.

Stinky and Ocho with their cozy blankets. 

We were told we needed to be in the saddle at 5:51 a.m. to be lead up to the staging area about a mile away.  This means up by 3:45 a.m. to get the horses ready, braid their manes and decorate with roses, and get ourselves ready - all in the dark!

The fresh roses were handed out to each lady, and they were beautiful!  They were made to match each of our dresses, and were placed on the horses' manes, hats and parasols.

Rosita Rose's pink roses, Priscilla Rose's purple roses, and Dorado Rose's peach roses.

Each horse proudly wore their official Rose parade ribbon.

Meanwhile, the Roses who ride in the carriage were taken by golf cart to the staging area where the carriage was waiting to be decorated with beautiful swags of fern and red roses. This was on a lovely residential street which fed into the parade route. We started in the dark using the light from our cellphones, and finished as the sun was rising.   

 Below, Sioux (Coachman Rose) with her carriage dogs, Monty, Katie and Ricky.  They are ready to go!  The beautiful carriage belongs to Sioux, however, she was driving for another entry this year.
We are so lucky to have LaDonne (Grandma Rose) as our carriage driver.  
She and Luke have driven far together the last several years.

We would like to thank all the support crew behind the scenes.  None of this could be done without them.  All vehicles must be removed from the Pit and driven to the end of parade route and parked in the Equestrian disbanding section.  David, Dan, Bill, Sandra, Craig, Sean, Mark and Bob were our wonderful drivers.  They also helped set up and tear down our area.

We have outwalkers during the parade to help us as we go along.   A huge thank you to Lisa, Irish Rose's daughter.  She was such a great help, and carried parasols and other items as needed the entire length of the parade.

A special outwalker is Jennifer.  She stayed right by Luke from before the sun came up and walked with him as he pulled the carriage all through the parade.  They have a very special relationship, and work so well together.


We also have our photographer and outwalker, Jerry.   He took these photos Jerry's Photos while walking the parade.

Below, photo by Charlie R, taken from the bleachers.

Soon, the riders joined the carriage in staging, and it was "hurry up and wait".  We were number 30 in the line up, so we did not have long to wait.  Our street flowed right into the parade route, and we were placed between two beautiful floats.

Left, riders joining the carriage in the staging area.                                                                     

Right, getting Monty settled in the carriage.

Here we go!  

Special Memories:

Priscilla Rose - "While this was my 5th Rose Parade, it was my first time riding my Arabian, Mariah. We have a very special bond and I looked forward to this day for years. She exceeded my expectations, making this a parade to remember forever!"

Shenandoah Rose - "This was my first Rose Parade, and I was very honored to ride in the carriage.  It was overwhelming and beautiful. I will never forget coming around the turn onto Colorado Blvd. where all the television cameras were set up, three stories high! So many people!"

Margarita Rose - "The hardest part about being IN the parade is not getting to see very much of it. I especially wanted to see the impressive 20 Mule Team in action and finally got to at our disbanding area after the parade. We stood right by it and got front row seats as it cruised by. So massive and amazing! I love the Rose Parade for its attention to detail and impeccable organization. I am so truly blessed to have experienced it five times with my sisters and my best friend horses."

Submitted by Shenandoah Rose

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A History of Purses and Handbags

Have you ever wondered about the origin of handbags and purses?

Women cannot do without their purses. Whether carried for utility or as a status symbol, handbags are essential to the modern woman. They carry our keys, our phones, essentially, they carry our lives. But as practical and necessary an accessory as it seems, the purse has not always been part of a woman’s wardrobe. Some women see it as a way to signify their wealth and others see it as a frivolous fashion item, but the history of the handbag reveals much about the history of woman, of her movement out of the home and into the world.

Pre 1800 Pouches and Pockets

The purse began as a symbol more than as a useful accessory. In ancient times wedding purses filled with money were often given to couples as a symbol of the womb, which would hopefully soon be filled as well. So from the beginning the purse has been associated with womanhood, femininity and female sexuality. Handbags have been essential to fashion history ever since people have had  something precious to carry around with them and only the items have changed over time.

The very first mention in written literature comes from the 14th century, where Egyptian hieroglyphs show pouches carried around the waist. Bags were attached to what were called "girdles" which were fastened to the waist. Embroidery and jewels adorned these articles and were used to show status - the richer the person, the more elaborate the bag.

In the 16th century, handbags took on more of an air of practicality with the use of everyday materials such as leather with a drawstring fastener on top. During this period, cloth bags were used that were made larger and used by travelers and carried diagonally across the body.   Right, leather bag with loop on top for belt via Museum of Brno. 

Also in the 16th century, wealthy individuals carried their money in pouches that dangled from a belt or girdle. These pouches were so easily stolen that soon the trend in pockets arose, which allowed a man or woman to hide his or her possessions on the body and out of thieves’ reach. A woman’s pockets might be hidden within the folds of her skirt or attached to a band under her skirt. It was something hidden and unreachable to all but those who had a very intimate association with her because to see what was in a woman’s pockets you had to literally be up her skirt.

 The 17th century saw more variety and both fashionable men and women carried small purses with more complex shapes. Young girls were taught embroidery as a very necessary skill to make them marriageable and we see the rise of beautiful and unique stitched artwork in handbags.

Left.  In the 16th through 18th centuries, pockets were worn underneath the petticoat, which had side openings to enable one to reach into the pocket.

In the late 18th century, women’s clothing silhouettes got sleeker and simpler with a reduction in the amount of underclothing worn by women.  This left no room for pockets so women began to carry small, often silk embroidered drawstring bags or purses called reticules, or 'ridicules'. These elaborately embroidered pouches allowed a woman to carry the necessary feminine weapons- perfume, powder, handkerchief and a fan for flirting- but usually held no money, which was earned and controlled by the men.

Reticules were smaller version of what women used to carry their needlework. This is likely the origin of the Dorothy bag which has since emerged as shoe bags, dress bags, laundry bags and today, gym bags.  Left, French 18th Century Purse Velvet Stumpwork Metal Embroidery

The level of decoration of a woman’s reticule was an indication of her family’s wealth and although not as private as a pocket, the reticule was still considered a woman’s hiding place whose contents were revealed to few.  Later in the 18th century, handbags got larger, and more eclectic. Bags were made in a variety of shape and with variety of fabrics.  Women had a different bag for every occasion and every fashion magazine had arguments on the proper carrying of these purses. The magazines included patterns for making bags and women began making purses to match particular outfits.


 Left, 1818 Regency era reticule.

The Victorian era brought a large variety of bags. Bags often were made to coordinate with the outfit and were now made of many different fabrics. By the mid 1800s, bags changed from simply drawstring styles, to a popular flat style, that could be made in either a circular or square shape and was generally heavily decorated with beading and needlework. Patterns and directions for making these types of purses became popular in ladies magazines at that time.

There were also smaller versions, used as coin purses which often included a metal fastener. By the early 20th century, women would carry bags every time they left home, even for short periods while hats were popular accessories that began to lose popularity by the early 20th century, handbags became increasingly popular. The success of the handbag has much to do with the fact that it has adapted to the needs of the time.

The term "handbag" first came into use in the early 1900's and generally referred to hand-held luggage bags usually carried by men. These were an inspiration for new bags that became popularized for women, including handbags with complicated fasteners, internal compartments, and locks. With this new fashion, jewelers got into the act with special compartments for opera glasses, cosmetics, and fans.

 Left, 1860s woman with leather purse.

Right, 1886 fashionable woman in a studio photograph with purse.

Because men’s fashions of the time were much unchanged and still included the pockets needed for a man to store his things, the purse was seen as a purely feminine accessory that served to exhibit not only the increasing differences in men’s and women’s attire but also the distinct separation in the roles of men and women. Men were expected to dress neatly and respectably as was acceptable in the work place while women were permitted to dress sweetly and romantically in keeping with their fragility and role as a decoration.

As upper class women became more mobile and found themselves away from home for longer periods of time, they needed a better way to carry the necessities. A shopping trip to the newly created department stores or to meet friends for tea required more than a dainty bag could hold. These new bags first came in the form of small suitcases, square with handles and locks, often made by companies that specialized in leather goods like saddles and luggage. To fulfill this new need, Companies like Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Hermes began to produce bags expressly for women and the designer handbag was born.

By the early 20th century when slim skirts came into fashion, pockets for women were totally passe and handbags were becoming more and more popular. During this time most middle-class women were homemakers and did not have much to carry so purses, as well as the women that carried them, were still often seen as decorative. After World War I much of this changed, as wealthy women were outnumbered by women with a more practical attitude toward life who aspired to do more than remain at home. Right, 1911 photo by Bassano.

The 1920’s brought with them a new female sensibility: opposition to the unnecessary embellishment of Victorianism and to the demure and servile attitude of the Victorian woman. Modern women, or flappers, shed their flouncy curls and elaborate clothes in favor of a clean, boyish aesthetic and their handbag of choice, the clutch, was reflective of the 1920’s woman: sleek, sharp and without the frills and softness of her Victorian counterparts. Although clutches could not hold much and were difficult to carry, the streamlined look continued to dominate handbag design from new houses like Lanvin and Patou. In 1933 Van Cleef and Arpels took the clutch to the next level of glamour in their creation of the minaudiere. These small clutches, also made by Cartier, were crafted of gold or sterling silver an encrusted with jewels and quickly became popular among socialites and film stars.

1800-1930 Carpet Bags & Clutches

As new modes of transportation developed and people began to travel, the precursor to the modern
handbag really came into being. To be away from home for long meant that men and women needed a way for their things to travel as well, thus suitcases, hatboxes, and dressing cases were created. Carpet bags were the travel bags of choice for much of the late nineteenth century due to their roominess and durability, but as practical as the carpet bag was, it was not elegant and did nothing to differentiate the wealthy from the lower classes.

A French gentleman named Louis Vuitton seized this opportunity. In 1854 he designed a trunk made from iron and a waterproofed canvas. This luxurious travel case was elegant, sturdy, stackable and able to withstand the rigors of travel. It was instantly a hit with the wealthy as it served to distinguish them as elite. In 1896 the Louis Vuitton monogram canvas was introduced and is the brand’s most recognized symbol to this day.

Submitted by Irish Rose

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Victorian Lady and her Staff

In order for the Victorians to have a successful high class status, they required lots of staff. The number of servants needed was determined by the size of each estate.  I will be describing the servants that dealt with Victorian women and their children on a daily basis.

House Keeper- considered upper staff hierarchy, she is responsible for the female staff and maintaining the house’s furnishings.

Servants under her domain could include:
Chamber Maids- responsible for cleaning the bedrooms.

Parlor Maids- responsible for cleaning and maintaining sitting rooms, drawing rooms, etc. of the house.

House Maids- a general all purpose worker.

Between Maid- worked in either the house or kitchen as needed.

Laundry Maids- responsible for all washing and ironing

Cook or Chef- also considered upper staff hierarchy was in charge of the entire kitchen staff and preparing the family’s meals.  Food quality was an important method for impressing guests.  Servants under her domain could include:

Under Cook- apprentice to chef, also prepares meals for the staff.

Kitchen Maid- assisted in the kitchen work. Any type of cutting prepping etc.

Scullery Maid- dish washer.

These servants were responsible for preparing at least 3 full meals, tea times or any other events for the day.  They would prepare everything.   Most of these servants are never seen.

Lady’s Maid- also considered upper staff hierarchy.  It was her main job to be the private servant for the lady of the house.  She would assist in dressing, caring for the clothes, being a companion and even doing secretarial duties.  
Head Nurse- she was in charge of the nursing staff in the house.  She was to watch over the young children.  Nurses- responsible for raising the babies and young children in the house.
A Typical Day of a Lady

The lady’s maid brings up the tea tray and helps her to dress.  It is unacceptable for a lady to be seen in a dressing gown outside the bedroom.

 -The lady will change her outfit at least three times in a day.

 -After breakfast, she meets with the cook to discuss menus for the day.

 -The afternoon may include reading, sewing, visiting  friends or hosting a tea party.

- Evening time is spent with her husband and having dinner together.  The children are fed in the Nursery and see their parents for about 1 hour every day.
-At least once a month the couple will attend the theater, attend or host a dinner party.

Submitted by Anastasia Rose



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Victorian Delicacy

From the black kohl that lined Cleopatra's eyes to the arsenic that whitened Elizabethan cheeks, to the to the rouge that pinked the cheeks of pin-up girls, make-up has been a part of culture and fashion since recorded history began.  Sometimes used to mask beauty, sometimes to enhance it even sometimes to downplay it, applying color to flesh is an art form that began in antiquity and has survived to modern days.  

In the middle of the 1800's, Queen Victoria of England declared makeup to be vulgar, and so it started to fall to the wayside in most Western Countries toward the end of the century, although prostitutes and actresses continued to wear makeup. Women in the 19th century liked to be thought of as fragile ladies. They compared themselves to delicate flowers and emphasized their delicacy and femininity. They aimed always to look pale and interesting. Paleness could be induced by drinking vinegar and avoiding fresh air. Sometimes ladies discreetly used a little rouge on the cheeks, but make-up was frowned upon in general especially during the 1870s when social etiquette became more rigid.

A pale skin was a mark of gentility. It meant that a lady could afford to not work outdoors getting suntanned which was then considered vulgar and coarse. Continuous work in sun and harsh weather coarsened the skin then, as it does now. Parasols were de rigueur and used to protect the complexion. Rooms were shuttered with dark heavy velvet curtains to keep out the sun's rays. Some effort was made to keep the décolleté neckline in good condition as it was often exposed in evening dress. As part of their "toilet" in the morning ladies of leisure would ensure well plucked eyebrows, perhaps trim their eyelashes, and daub castor oil onto their eyelids and lashes.
Skin: Pale skin was a sign of wealth. Wealthy women did not have to work outside, and so being pale was a sign of being part of the upper class. Pale skin would be achieved through chemical means - sometimes women used face powders made of lead (which is poisonous, but it achieved the desired affect). There was a lot of what they called 'snake oil salesmen' who would sell ointments that could contain anything (like cocaine) for health and beauty purposes. It was also popular to put egg whites on your faces and allow it to dry, creating a porcelain-like appearance. To hide freckles, blotches, or redness, they could dust on rice powder, zinc oxide or, the most expensive option, ground pearl powder. Trivia: By the late 1800's, women were using fine blue pencils to trace their veins lines to increase the appearance of delicate translucent skin. Powders were available with blue and lavender tints. This allowed women to appear very pale even in the yellow gas and candle light.

Eyes: For bright eyes, a drop of lemon or orange juice in each eye would be used, and was considered a cleansing method. Eye shadow was not really used. Beeswax was sometimes used to make eye lashes look thicker, and Kohl was often used on eye lashes. Kohl is a mixture of soot and other ingredients, and it was used by the Egyptians. Sometimes women went with eyeliner instead, using the ends of burnt twigs to outline the eye. Poisonous belladonna was also dropped into the eyes causing the pupils to dilate, creating a luminous glow, but clouding vision. People with cataracts were prescribed belladonna; Queen Victoria used it in her declining years rather than have surgery. Belladonna is also known as Deadly Nightshade. It has a long history of use as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison. Before the Middle Ages, it was used as an anesthetic for surgery; the ancient Romans used it as a poison (the wife of Emperor Augustus and the wife of Claudius - both were rumored to have used it for murder); and, predating this, it was used to make poison-tipped arrows. The name "bella donna" is derived from Italian and means "beautiful woman" because the herb was used in eye-drops by women to dilate the pupils of the eyes to make them appear seductive. The crude drug is used in sedatives, stimulants, and antispasmodics.

Cheeks and Lips: Rouge was commercially available, but you could not be seen applying it. Some women, instead of applying rouge to their cheeks, would pinch or slap them to make them appear rosy and glow. Lips were sometimes pinched or even bitten to make them look read and swollen.  Lipstick was beeswax dyed with crushed flowers or sometimes carmine beetles. (Beetles that have carmine, a red pigment, is used in food coloring and derived from the eggs of the cochineal beetle and crushed bodies of the female)

 A Woman's Place is in The Home

The Victorian era seems like another world to us. Yet the late Victorians were very familiar with many of the things we use every day. The one thing that was different was the place of women in society. There were, of course, perceptive women of independent original thought, but for the huge majority, life was easier if they accepted that a woman's place was in the home. To lump all women of the Victorian era as one body would be wrong. The era spanned 64 years and changes in attitudes were gradually shifting as the century closed.

A Woman's Qualities

The accepted reasoning was that the career for women was marriage. To get ready for courtship and marriage a girl was groomed like a racehorse. In addition to being able to sing, play an instrument and speak a little French or Italian, the qualities a young Victorian gentlewoman needed, were to be innocent, virtuous, biddable, dutiful and be ignorant of intellectual opinion.
Right - Taking tea wearing lavish Victorian gowns in 1854. Fashion history images we see today are usually of beautifully gowned women, yet many working women as opposed to ladies such as these wore rags.

Whether married or single, all Victorian women were expected to be weak and helpless, a fragile delicate flower incapable of making decisions beyond selecting the menu and ensuring her many children were taught moral values. A gentlewoman ensured that the home was a place of comfort for her husband and family from the stresses of Industrial Britain.

A woman's prime use was to bear a large family and maintain a smooth family atmosphere where a man need not bother himself about domestic matters. He assumed his house would run smoothly so he could get on with making money.

Mistresses for Men

Even in high places Victorian men kept mistresses, but they still expected their wives or mistresses to be faithful whatever their own misdemeanors. If a women took a lover it was not made public. If it did become public knowledge she would be cut by society. But men could amble along to one of their gentleman's clubs and always find a warm welcome.


Married Woman's Property Act 1887

It was a hypocritical period when relationships were quite artificial. Until late in the century in 1887 a married woman could own no property. Then in 1887 the Married Woman's Property Act gave women rights to own her own property. Previously her property, frequently inherited from her family, belonged to her husband on marriage. She became the chattel of the man. During this era if a wife separated from her husband she had no rights of access to see her children. A divorced woman had no chance of acceptance in society again.

Social Differences between Classes of Women

A wealthy wife was supposed to spend her time reading, sewing, receiving guests, going visiting, letter writing, seeing to the servants and dressing for the part as her husband's social representative.

For the very poor of Britain things were quite different. Fifth hand clothes were usual. Servants ate the pickings left over in a rich household. The average poor mill worker could only afford the very inferior stuff, for example rancid bacon, tired vegetables, green potatoes, tough old stringy meat, tainted bread, porridge, cheese, herrings or kippers.

By the end of the Queen Victoria's reign there were great differences between members of society, but the most instantly apparent difference was through the garments worn.

The Victorian head of household dressed his women to show off family wealth. As the 19th century progressed dress became more and more lavish until clothing dripped with lace and beading as the new century dawned.

A wealthy woman's day was governed by etiquette rules that encumbered her with up to six wardrobe changes a day and the needs varied over three seasons a year. A lady changed through a wide range of clothing as occasion dictated.

Fashion history and photographic records clearly illustrate there was morning and mourning dress, walking dress, town dress, visiting dress, receiving visitors dress, travelling dress, shooting dress, golf dress, seaside dress, races dress, concert dress, opera dress, dinner and ball dress.

Left - Fashion plate of wealthy women in an open carriage which enabled them to display their clothes and elevated position in society.

Fashion plates were hugely successful in this era giving ladies, supposed to be women, visual clues on how to dress for their new found status.

Submitted by Irish Rose