Portières a plenty!

Posted Jul 12 2016, 9:07 pm

Portieres green dress

Who doesn’t remember the movie ‘Gone With the Wind’ & Scarlet O’Hara’s emerald green dress made from her mother’s portières?!!  I doubt there’s a garment more immortalized on earth! Portieres greenBut, let’s chat a bit about that word, shall we? PORTIERESA portière is technically a hanging curtain placed over a door OR an opening into a room. Derived from the French word porte [door], portières were extremely popular during the Victorian era & yards of draping material were used to stop drafts & dampen sounds between adjoining rooms—besides their utilitarian use, portieres also brought ‘eye-candy’ & more status, if you will, to the wealthier Victorian homes. portieres 9

The rich enjoyed the inviting, softening statements as their guests sashayed from room to room. Most portières were made from velvets and brocades to polished silks and satins. And the more expensive, the better!! And added embellishments of bullion fringe, or gold cording proclaimed great prestige to the home owner. portieres 4

Some even used decorations of strung wooden, ivory, or jet beading. Even seashells!!

Portieres - Tearing-down-the-curtains-2Portieres scarlettSo, back to that famous emerald green dress worn by Scarlett…in the book version of GWTW, Margaret Mitchell correctly used the word CURTAIN, however…in the movie version, the term portière was used INcorrectly by both Scarlett & Mammy: ’cause they were talking about green velvet WINDOW curtains — not portières, which, as we now know was the Victorian word used to describe draperies IN DOORWAYS.

So, Klatchers, the next time y’all see the movie…now you’ll know the truth.



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