Dedicated to Gooner gals and pals who love to don jumpsuits and smart jackets as they do their jerseys.

21 March 2012

Antique Attire: Preston North End, 1888 - 89

It's quite safe to say that some vintage fashion trends have no place in the modern gal's wardrobe - though I would love to argue against it. There have been way too many times where I've tried to imagine a world who still prides in dressing up - beautiful lace gowns to a tea party, stunning three piece suits to fly across the world, fascinators just because. The world we live in today is revolved around functionality and comfort - and those are two words I really despise to associate dressing with. Everyday to me is a chance to play dress up, today I imagine myself as a 60s activist, the next as a 20s socialite. 

This Antique Attire has left me with a rather bitter taste in late Victorian fashion - mainly because I know that I could not pull any of their wear without looking like Miss Havisham. Never mind, I thought - I'd give it a shot for the team's sake. Preston North End. While most modern football fans would disregard them as a Championship side (currently residing in League One after being relegated last season), they cannot be dismissed as they were one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888. 

Here's another little piece of English football history for you: Preston was the first team to ever win the league. They were the most powerful team then - no goals were conceded and no games were lost both in the league and the FA Cup. They won the title again the next season though unfortunately they have not won it again since. With the decision to install the Premier League in 1992 by top twenty clubs who decided to break away - it's hard to think of the Championship as anything but secondary to the PL these days. 

While some may argue that football of those days are nothing like they are today, it is worth noting that playing football was not a profession then, in fact professionalism in football was illegal. Preston themselves were active in hiring Scottish players in exchange for high-paying employment in the Preston area which their rivals argued as professionalism. To avoid teams breaking away from the FA, they were forced to legalise professionalism in 1885 - which shaped the professional footballer we know today.

Back to the lovely late Victorian fashion, I considered this look a tribute to both the era and the team. Preston's mascot is a lamb carrying a crucifix, so there is much emphasis on the sense of spiritual 'purity' and 'brand new' associated with the newly formed Football League. While Preston's traditional colours are black and white - I disregarded an overbearing use of its colours and instead chose grey as that was the colour I first saw the men in - an old late 1880s photograph. 

The beautiful Erdem gown is only one of my favourite pieces - its silhouette is reminiscent of the long gowns ladies wore at those days. We try and keep the accessorising minimal though there was nothing simple about the Victorian ladies. Vintage chandelier earrings, embellished sandals and clutch. Not forgetting the luxurious furs in those days, we chose a platinum coloured lamb fur coat by Azzedine Alaïa and of course lace gloves to complete the look. 


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