Native Soil

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATitle of Piece: Native Soil

Date Completed: July 19, 2015

Materials Used: Red merino wool and dark gray baby alpaca yarns

Techniques Used: Crochet and knitting

Application to Theoretical Concepts or Frameworks: The use of dress to attempt to play one’s role in society properly, despite one’s shortcomings or stigma (Goffman, 1959, 1963), is a hallmark of the character Saint-Germain’s modus operandi. Moreover, Saint-Germain used and enjoyed fine and luxurious dress, as can be seen in the fabrics, fibers and materials he wore both for everyday and for special occasions, as well as his penchant for fine handwork and craftsmanship. This outfit is handmade of fine wool and alpaca, a luxury fiber.

Inspiration: The gently undulating shapes of the feather and fan motif in the bodice can suggest the silhouette of ancient mountains that have been worn down over time. The motif therefore references Saint-Germain’s original home (his “native soil”), which was deep in the Central European Carpathian mountains. The dark gray skirt is knitted in garter stitch with baby alpaca, a luxury fiber known for its softness. Red and gray are two colors that are important to the character throughout the book series: red refers not only to blood, but also to the rubies with which Saint-Germain often adorned himself. The color gray is also important to him. Before the advent of the automobile, he routinely chose perfectly matched gray horses to pull his carriages. The undulating nature of garter stitch and the use of front-post stitches in the dress’ straps are details that are a nod to Saint-Germain’s sensuous enjoyment of detail and texture.