Sunday, April 3, 2011

Beetle Wing Dresses


I wasn't aware that "beetle parts" played such an interesting role in 19th century fashion. The dress shown above (which was recently restored) is a famous gown worn by actress Ellen Terry when she played Lady Macbeth in 1888. The dress below is from the 1850s. Both use the iridescent wings of jewel beetles in the same way one might use sequins today.

How do we feel about this? Would you wear a gown made with beetle parts?

31 comments:

Jin Ai said...

EW. Undoubtedly it looks awesome but I probably couldn't do it unless my entire body were encased in Saran wrap beforehand...also doesn't this violate some sort of animal cruelty law?

Erin_Flight said...

The wings of beetles can be quite beautiful. I think I probably would.

Netta! said...

Ewwww digusting but pretty cute well the second one the first on i wouldn't wear for a millon bucks but i might wear the second what but i dont like the idea of having beetales on my body even if there dead but imagine if they where alive and crawling on your body ewww...

MushroomCloud said...

well, since we eat beetles (in red dye) i have no problem with it. Andi dont think insects are included in animal cruelty acts- think of exterminators and terminate people.

montana irregulars said...

I love both of them!!! I really love clothes from the 1800s. I knew that they used bug juice for red dye, but I didn't know this!

Ari the Awesome said...

I think that the beetle wings look pretty cool, and I wouldn't mind wearing them too much. I really liked the second dress.

Delila Rich said...

That is soooo pretty!! I would like to look at it, but defiantly not wear it...

Zelia said...

I might have "invented" that on a past life. hahahah

Elizabeth said...

Umm, I probably wouldn't wear the first one, but the second one is magnificent. I just wouldn't want to touch them... Haha.

Chloe said...

My english teacher said that back in the day people made hair bouquets or hair breaclets, especially from the head of a dead person or their brush. Each person i think would get one to remember the person by. some look like actual flowers but they're real hair. i think it's both amazing and a little wierd.

Eleanor said...

If there was a layer of fabric in between the beetles and my skin then I would totally wear it! But if not...well... :D Uhh since you're back online then...by chance have you...you know finished The Darkness Dwellers? That would be nice. :P

Anonymous said...

You may already be wearing, or have eaten, insects. Female cochineal beetles are turned into cochineal, carmine, crimson lake, "natural red 40" or other such euphemisms. The dye is used in food and cosmetics.

Robert in San Diego

EQ said...

Yee...can you imagine what it would be like to have a job like beetle-catcher, -wing-plucker, or -sewer-onner?

squidlings said...

They're pretty. I guess it's a smart idea.

Pshychidelic Snail said...

Beautiful! I think it's gorgeous, and a lot more high quality then the plastic sequins we have now. If you didn't know what they were you probably wouldn't be able to guess!

(This is Rileydog/Delaney, I just changed my name)

Tofu said...

oh god no, I would so wouldn't ( but the gown still looks pretty :) )

Anonymous said...

They are beutifully done but I would, beleive it or not, feel bad for the poor beetles!

Holy Lucy batman! said...

Found my wedding gown! (second one) bet u won't see THAT on say yes to the dress

Toodles*** said...

Those are beautiful!

I would so wear one, especially the second.

How is your progress going, Kirrsten? Almost done? Cause we're sure glad you're back.

Also, how was everybody's April Fools???

Julia said...

Imagine the ghosts of all those beetles coming back to get their revenge.

Julia said...

Imagine the ghosts of all those beetles coming back to get their revenge.

Pshychidelic Snail said...

For those of you who are Hunger Games fans(Kirsten?) they just cast Peeta and Gale for the movie(coming out 2012) and casted Katniss last month.

katie said...

I'm not sure I'd want to wear beetle bits... but I'd make an exception for the second dress. It's gorgeous.

katie said...

I'm not sure I'd be too fond of wearing beetle wings... but I'd make an exception for that gorgeous second dress.

Violet :) said...

I would wear the one on the top, definitely. I don't have any problems wearing beetles, as long as they're already dead. (No way am I wearing live insects.)

The Narrator said...

Anything for fashion. Mother Nature sometimes knows fashion better than we do!

Aria the Cellist said...

yes! you're backk! I wouldn't mind the beetle dress unless they were from an endangered or threatened species. And they're prettier alive anyway... In some countries you can keep a beetle on a chain like a pet.

Maka Albarn said...

I think I would
My friend's mom sewed live lightning bugs to her prom dress. It was at night, so she was glowing.

So this is not necessarily the weirdest thing I've heard about. But pretty close!

Ju L. said...

They're beautiful! I'd wear those. Vintage, beautiful and interesting.

Alice the Elf said...

I think I might have to pass, though the second one is really pretty, I'm not much of a sequins person to begin with.
I was thinking about the beetle dye when I remembered that for awhile, whale vomit was used in perfume, it has a 'earthy' aroma.

Anonymous said...

At least the beetle wing special effects make some sense. I thought I was seeing an April Fools Day joke when I first learned about black reflective tape, but lately I've been seeing the stuff being used for signs and vehicle numbers.


Robert "what's wrong with white and red reflective tape?" in San Diego