Saturday, November 3, 1866
Serafina took Giulia to Palermo last month to buy the silk for the outfits they wore today. She created dresses for each of them with skirts not too full, trimmed in lace and thin satin ribbon; Renata’s in French blue, Giulia’s in muted green, both gathered slightly at the waist and pulled to the back, giving them a touch of padding. In addition to a loose-fitting dress with long sleeves in midnight blue for Maria, she made a smock for her to wear over it. And when they were buying shoes for the season, the cobbler found a piece of cordovan that Maria fancied, the leather fine and light, large enough to make a pair of boots in her size, but at a cost well over Serafina’s budget.
Giulia noticed the costumes of aristocratic women, especially the wardrobe of Baroness Lanza, a friend ever since Serafina delivered her children. The baroness told Giulia about Worth & Bobergh in Paris. ‘Last time I was there, I saw the Empress Eugénie disappear into a fitting room, and now everyone—I mean just everyone—goes to Worth’s.’
Baroness Lanza talked too much, Serafina had told Rosa, filling Giulia’s head with ideas of Paris, telling her about Sarah Bernhardt, ‘that expensive tart who calls herself an actress. The French idolize her. Well, they would.’ All this bother of Bernhardt and Paris and poor Giulia would be doomed. But it wouldn’t hurt for her to see Elisabetta’s French gowns today. She could copy them, perhaps make a dress for Carmela, something remarkable with an indefinite waist.
Photo: Etna from the air. Credit: giopuo (Flickr)