I think I may have been subtly brainwashed without realizing it.
Viewing page after page of fashion plates, making my way through my copy of Ackerman’s Repository of Arts*, and watching Pride and Prejudice waaay to often (1995, Colin firth and Jennifer Ehle – is there any other?) it lodged in my brain that white gowns or gowns with subtle print on white where the majority of what was worn in those years. I knew that the solid colors available at the time were rich and vibrant, again thanks to Ackerman’s and watching too many runs through Becoming Jane (2007, Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy – my favorite Tom LeFroy BTW). I watch these, and all the other Austen-related films, not only for the story (however inaccurate the script may be) but also for the clothing (same caveat).
Which is the long way of saying that I was getting worried. The references I’d gone through went so far as to give the ideal dimensions and spacing of prints on muslin. White muslin. But I don’t want white; certainly not all white. I really do like the deep blue fabric with the tan/gold fleur-de-lis print, whether or not it might have been offensive to the British. I’m American, the French (and the other biggies who weren’t happy with Britain) came to our side in 1812, and that’s that. No worries.
However, the nagging issue of how much white, if any, was tugging at my brain. That is, until I found The Answer which comes in the form of a Pinterest board. Not sure about colored prints for Georgian/Regency wear? Check this out: http://pinterest.com/SceneInThePast/1800-1820-regency-prints/.
I feel as if I’ve struck gold. Ginger has done a great job of putting together an assortment of photographs of extant garments that leaves no doubt: color-on-color prints were indeed used. She also has a large number of topic-specific boards with tons of photography of extant garments. A real treasure trove of information. Marvel at the selection: http://pinterest.com/SceneInThePast/.
*Ackerman’s Repository of Arts – in the form of the excellent compilation of Georgian/Regency Ackerman fashion plates titled Fashions in the Era of Jane Austen, by Jody Gayle.
Here are more from Ginger’s Regency Prints board: