Hey guess what? I made a way better version of this – go look at it!
It might surprise you to know that archery was considered a mighty fine past-time for upper-class women in the Victorian era, and Queen Victoria herself was an avid archer. Archery was considered suitable for women for a few reasons: the many female archers in classical myth and art; the archer’s stance and act of shooting arrows were graceful and pleasing to the Victorian eye; although archery requires great skill and mental poise, it wasn’t so demanding that it was masculine (oh noes, women doing men stuff!). You can read about archery and romance in England in Martin Johnes’s Archery, Romance and Elite Culture in England and Wales, c.1780–1840
The dress is in the Victoria and Albert Museum. I’m not crazy about the color, but that bertha collar sure is dramatic. I also like the two short layered sleeves, and how the dress is generally un-gaudy.
The woman I drew wearing the dress is a character I made up for an Inuyasha fanfic I wrote a while ago. She was actually a child in the story, the daughter of Rin and another original character; she’s got pointed ears because she’s a demon. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Last month’s Living Fashion model turned out to be Arabelle, who I made up last year. I’m planning to draw the rest of my Living Fashion clothes on characters I’ve created – god knows I’ve got enough of them!