From its beginning, Instagram was dominated by a certain look – a perfectly coiffed, immaculately made-up, Kardashian-type sensibility. However, around 2018, a new Insta aesthetic, named #prairiecore, emerged on the platform. Featuring fresh-faced young women with touselled hair frolicking through bucolic settings, wearing long, flowing dresses – the images stamped with the prairiecore hashtag are pretty much as far as you can get from the endless stream of models posing in bikinis at lounges in Ibiza. Gone are the sports cars, mansions, and diet pills, replaced by fairytale cottages, fluffy farm animals, and wildflowers. They evoke a time long past, before our obsession with wealth signalling and fast fashion, when artisanal craft and communion with nature were necessary parts of everyday life — the Victorian era.
Today, brands like Maison Cleo mimic the silhouette of the Victorian blouse almost exactly while adding modern twists like organza fabric and bold patterns. And original Victorian blouses are available from Vintage dealers like Maison Parisienne. “Today... people want to buy slow fashion more and more,” says Maison Parisienne founder Emma Moatti, “[and] the Victorian style is an echo to this idea.”
In a world that moves so fast, in which we are constantly bombarded with new information, the intricate artistry of Victorian fashion is a reminder of a time when the world moved considerably slower. “So much of what we look at now is on our phones. In miniature, the appeal of minimalism can get lost,” explains Caroline Milbank. “What pops and makes us want to look closer are interesting details. Ruffles and flourishes catch the eye. Styles reminiscent of long ago can lend a bit of romanticism to a mundane day.”