This post is pure eye candy! I just wanted to share one of the most splendid garments I own, this “Suit-of-lights” from Madrid. It’s a stellar example of the embroidery known as gold bullion work.
Here’s the maker’s label, which I find wonderful–so we all know who made this dazzling piece.
Here’s the back view. This jacket is heavy–around 20 pounds–and is like a piece of armor. The bodice of the piece is like a cardboard box, stiff to offer the bullfighter protection. The princess seams you see on the back, are hand-sewn–the panels were made individually from stiffened fabric (probably several layers of buckram), the fabric was then upholstered over the shaped panels, and they are sewn edge to edge.
When you see bullfighters getting ready for the fight, you see someone helping them into their clothes. This is not for show–I wore this to a Mardi Gras party this year–I had to wrestle my way into it, and got stuck in it for about an hour when I returned home. The piece is stiff, like armor.
The sleeve is joined to the body at the cap, so the underarm is completely open, to ensure adequate movement. The join between the sleeve and body is covered by heavily-embroidered epaulettes.
On the lower portion of the bodice front, you can see some rust–which I think indicates some sheet metal included in the construction! Here’s a detail shot of the epaulettes. Even though the jacket was well-worn, you can see the staggering amount of work, and how durable it is. Here’s a closer view of the sleeve and cuff. I was talking with the people from Hand and Locke in London recently, and they told me that these suits now cost around…