Elanthian Vogue: Eoantos 5119 EXTRA!
Editor: The Editorial Team
Last year, we introduced Elanthian Vogue EXTRA as an additional publication to our usual numbered editions. In it, we take an in-depth look at a particular aspect of Elanthian fashion. Whilst we would normally focus on a notable designer or a recommended piece for a style-conscious wardrobe, this "extra" covers the opening of an exciting new exhibition dedicated to Elven fashion in Ta'Illistim.
A Closer Look At ... Elven Fashion
Framed in oxidized copper and glass, the Museum Alerreth is renowned for both its architecture and array of artifacts that chronicle elven history. Formally opened on the 17th day of Eoantas 5119, with a number of fashionable celebrities in attendance, the new Costumery wing revealed an extensive collection of contemporary and historical ensembles. Covering the seven original noble houses, it is probably the largest and most comprehensive selection of elven dress in the world.
Notable pieces include a gown dating back to the reign of Argent Mirror Cafainiel Illistim, a pair of gold earbobs donated by the Chesylrae family, and exemplar creations from various modern-day fashion houses. The collection is particularly strong on Illistim and Faendryl influences with stylish outfits for men and women – including footwear and accessories - together with dress for the elite of Ta'Loenthra, Ta'Ardenai, Ta'Nalfein, and Ta'Vaalor. It also includes a small range of replicas from House of Ashrim; the most celebrated being a perfect illustration of elesine glamor.
There are over 130 objects in the collection ranging from a pendant dating back over 50,000 years to a gown worn recently by one of the exhibition's benefactors. These precious items, all showing different of styles of dress through the ages, are a perfect source of reference for any student or observer of cultural fashion trends.
As well as the exhibitions, there is also an impressive auditorium, with the skies of Ta'Illistim visible through its soaring, glass ceiling, and a balcony to accommodate smaller parties and more intimate conversation or discussion.
Stepping through the polished copper arch on the lower platform of the Museum, one enters the Costumery with its seven alcoves, each filled with an array of fashionable displays. Bathed in the natural light from the glass ceiling overhead, a tall marble statue of Chalat Greyvael Illistim graces the large central chamber to commemorate those recognised during Elanthian Fashion Week.
Crafted from pearlescent marble is the life-like figure of an elven man. Asymmetrically-cut bangs hang across his brow before disappearing behind his backswept, slightly twisted ears. A long-lined tunic drapes over fitted trousers that are tucked into tall riding boots. Accents of buckles and embroidery have been meticulously etched into the fashionable ensemble. A small faenor plaque is fixed to the base of the statue. The Chalat Greyvael Illistim Award, Couturier of Distinction Kayse Thaellian ~ 5116 Nihrvanah Tarsonath Vaalor ~ 5117 High Lady Avawren Fiora Nalfein and Lord Daevian Corwyth Vaalor ~ 5119
More arches with open quatrefoil panels open out into the galleries, each with artistically styled exhibits arranged in front of freestanding white walls and divided into sections by hardwood benches and glossy white pedestals.
Cleverly incorporated into the floor of each galleried space is an illuminated, square tile, a simple push of which briefly reveals an ethereal guide to provide commentary on the displays.
The initial displays in the southwestern alcove present the classic fashions of House Faendryl with dramatic silhouettes in sumptuous fabrics and multiple layers. A set of steps lead up to a small platform on which is arranged a series of well-dressed mannequins, posed as if viewing the gallery below. Each is arrayed in a sample style from some of the most prominent of their fashion houses, as recommended by The Faendryl Enclave. In contrast to the main display, these exhibits demonstrate inspiration from a variety of sources.
The mannequin stands at attention, its arms down at its sides, while a plaque is affixed to the carved wooden base at its feet. On the tall mannequin you see a raven-winged headpiece in darkened silver and onyx, a despanal-set tiered silver choker, a black silk cloak braced with overlapping mithril scales at the shoulders, a rigidly boned jet leather corset, a full-skirted gown of night black silk and a pair of ebony leather thigh boots with low glaes heels. "From hunters to Harrowers, Faendryl sometimes require designs that are as practical as they are elegant. Dressing for the hunt or for battle can still be stylish."
Other key pieces include an asymmetrical seafoam byssine gown caught at the shoulder with a mabe pearl clasp and a painted silk overgown awash in watercolor hues of mournbloom purple and black.
Directly north, and to the west of the main chamber, are a series of exhibits inspired by the elite of House Loenthra. More traditional in composition, the displays reflect the Loenthran elves love of the arts with luxurious velvets and richly colored silks forming the backdrop for pieces of expensive jewelry.
The mannequin has a wig of deep auburn hair running in natural waves down the back. In its hand, the mannequin has a firm grip on a pale linden wood lyre inlaid with tortoiseshell. A small placard rests in its lap. On the seated mannequin you see a rope of lustrous berry-hued pearls, a gold wire armcoil clasped with a treble clef, a shoulder-caught amethyst silk gown sliced with gold and silver striations and a pair of aureate silk slippers darkening at the toes. "Design inspiration courtesy of The Looking Glass."
Known for their love of the ruhan and symbolic floral gifts, House Ardenai are represented in the northwest gallery with a striking stallion-mounted archer and flower-adorned female counterpart. Naturally-hued linens and leathers predominate but skilfully tailored to add a touch of elegance and grace.
With its arm pulled back on the string of a slender gilt-traced ruic longbow, the mannequin sits straight in the saddle of a magnificent chestnut steed. A wig of waist-length, sandy blonde hair is tucked neatly behind its carved, pointed ears. A small, gilt-framed sign is positioned next to one stirrup. On the lithe mannequin you see a cylindrical copper-banded quiver, a moss green linen ruhan tapering to touch the floor at the back over a diagonally latticed breastplate of silvered leather, a pair of narrow fawn-hued doeskin pants and a pair of supple brown leather boots with silver knee-guards. "Fashion inspired by The Looking Glass."
It should come as no surprise that House Illistim dominates the exhibition with donations from the Argent Mirror’s couturier and Elanthian Elegance.
The figured is carved from pale white alabaster, its surface smooth and faultless. A wig of long, silky auburn hair is piled high atop its head, held in place by an elaborate coronal. On the alabaster figure you see a coronal of azure-tipped green macaw feathers, a long-lined silk linen gown dip-dyed in strong shades of blue and green and a pair of dark azure silk sandals with thin gold ankle chains. "Designed by Elanthian Elegance for Argent Mirror Myasara Illistim."
The peacock is a recurring image in couture designs, drawn from the plumage of the majestic bird and scroll symbol of the House itself. In addition, radiant blue sapphires with touches of creamy white vaalin are a common theme in most courtly garments. Slightly elevated above the main gallery, and secured behind thick-paned glass, are an array of lush fabrics and sparkling jewels. Many of the pieces on display date back over 25,000 years, such as the cloth-of-veniom capelet once belonging to the Child Argent and a crimson ora falcata recovered from ShadowGuard.
From here, we head east into the gallery where the military stylings of House Vaalor are on display with their clean lines in bold crimson and gold hues.
Fitted with a wig of cropped ebon hair, the mannequin features blue marble eyes. It stands at rigid attention, its arms positioned straight down at its sides. On the tall mannequin you see a billowing crimson cape, a dark crimson jacket adorned at the shoulders with gold braid tied into one knot of rank, a collarless dark red cotton shirt threaded with gold, a pair of polished crimson and gold bracers, some fitted black twill trousers with crisp cuffs and a pair of polished black leather knee-boots.
South leads us to the refined elegance of the Nalfein elves. A prime example is that of Lady Ianthra's contribution, which epitomizes the very essence of sophistication and is perfectly complemented by the understated elegance of the taller male companion.
Refined elven features are evident beneath a long wig of thick, cornsilk blonde hair. The mannequin is finely dressed and holds a thin gold plate engraved with elegant script in her outstretched hand. On the slender mannequin you see a brilliant pure gold crown of narrowly splayed points, a lengthy silver filament necklace dripping a glinting vaalin tassel, an elbow-length raw silk cloak, a finespun gilded gossamer gown sheathed over pallid argentine silk brocade, a sleek nacreous mesh reticule and a pair of pointy-toed linen slippers with polished spinewood heels. "Donated by Lady Ianthra Nishaye Nalfein."
A tour of the new wing is not complete without a visit to the final gallery where it is possible to see an elesine gown in all its burgundy-suffused glory.
Carved from ash wood, the mannequin is fitted with long, slender ears and grey marble eyes. A silvery anchor tattoo is painted on its neck. On the seated mannequin you see a high-collared dove grey velvet jacket nipped at the waist, a pale gold damask corset vest brocaded with metallic emerald thread, a ruffled pearly silk blouse tied with a foiled leather cravat, some lavender-striped grey sailcloth pants cuffed at the knees and a pair of scaled leather boots laced with knotted mesh.
Masters of the sea, the Ashrim understood that both style and functionality were possible when it comes to fashion; something we could all emulate and benefit from.