As I have been researching and looking for ideas to inspire my textile jewellery design, I came across a copy of a John Barker & Co. Catalogue from the early 1900's. Ruffs are most often associated with the 1600's, but in a different form, neck ruffs were also worn in the early 1900's.
If you are interested here is a little background info on the company that produced the catalogue. John Barker (1840-1914) opened a small linen drapery shop at 91-93 Kensington High Street, Kensington, London, in 1870. The business expanded rapidly and by 1880 John Barker was trading in fifteen shops. In 1888, a partnership, John Barker & Co., was formally established. By 1892, John Barker & Co. was one of the largest stores in London, with over forty departments ranging from furnishing and plumbing to fashion and food, and employing over 1,000 staff. In 1894, John Barker & Co. became a public limited company, John Barker & Co. Ltd. At that time the company then owned thirty-three shops and by 1895 it owned every property on Kensington High Street between King Street and Young Street.
There are two pages of neckwear in the catalogue.
Here we can see the look of this period, and how the neckwear was worn.
Lace was everywhere.
What a strange creature she was, the fashionable woman of the early 1900's, with the waist of a wasp, the extended neck of an African tribeswoman, and a pigeon breast. In this last gracious era of the Beau Epoch, the ruff, that symbol of status reappeared once again for a short time.
Below are some of the novelties in sashes and neckwear, Lace Collars and Jabots, with their descriptions. I so want to make some of these.
Cambric Jabot, edged with fine lace.
Fine Imitation Irish Insertion and Cambric Collar Band.
26. The New Ruche, deep pleated Net Frill and Black Satin Bow.
28. Collar Band of fine Cambric and Coloured Feather Stitching.
Latest French Novelty in Silk and Muslin Jabot. The Collar Band and Bow composed of soft silk ribbon and finished with an inner Frill of Tulle. Available in all the fashionable shades.
Fashionable Folded Satin Collar Band, finished with Net Frilling and Bow at the back. In all the best shades.
14. Dainty Silk and Lace Jabot, can be had in all the newest Colorings.
15. Dainty Neck Ruffle, in soft Satin with inner Ruche of Tulle, and finished at back with smart Bow. Can be made in any colour.