Hello there and welcome to The House of Whyte!
My name is Gina and I am so happy you stopped by! A very long time ago (when I was 5) my Great-Grandmother introduced me to the ethereal beauty, romance and grace that I later learned was the Victorian Era. Her name was Hazel Prudence Palmer Chriswisser, but we called her Nonni. She gifted me with my first antiques, 8 Indian Head pennies from the 1880s, and yes, I still have them. Over the years, she blessed me with many more antiques and I, along with my Mama, became known as the keeper of family heirlooms. Precious items from the Victorian era all the way to the 1950s have been handed down to me from my Mother's and Father's side of the family, and I treasure them and take loving care of them. Out of this responsibility birthed the love and passion for Historical Fashion and the stories behind it.
My sweet Mama, Lana Walters, joins me on most of our programs. She loves to sew and create lovely dresses (she taught me to sew!) Her Mom, Iva, taught her to sew on a "White" treadle sewing machine that now lives at my house. She made her wedding dress, mine and my sister's wedding dresses, all of my Prom and Homecoming dresses, so has a long history of creating beautiful garments. Lana enjoys researching history, historical fashion and tracking our family genealogy. Gathering artifacts for our traveling museums, adding to our wonderful collections with whatever will bring the past into the present is one of our passions! We love working together and have a seriously fun time doing it!
Mom's and my goal and desire through The House of Whyte is to educate those who wish to know, not only about the clothing that was worn in the Victorian Era through to the 1930s, but what was worn under the clothing to attain the correct silhouette, or shape. You can look at a bustle dress from 1885 and say, "That is a beautiful dress!" and not realize that there could very well be 7 layers of underwear underneath that beautiful dress. We also wish to dispel the misconception that the hoop dresses from "Gone With the Wind" comprised the entirety of the Victorian Era. The style and silhouette of dresses changed around 9 times in the years from 1837 when Queen Victoria took the throne until she died in 1901, and we love sharing those silhouettes with others. We enjoy sharing the knowledge we have gleaned from museums, fashion historians, keepers of family heirlooms, books and yes, the internet, with others who are enchanted with clothing from long ago. We are still very much avid students of history and enjoy learning all we can from the ladies who originally wore these fascinating pieces of clothing. These ladies of the past we believe to be the true experts in historical fashion!
Whatever program you choose, be it the "Pantaloons to Parasol" Underwear Education Program or "The Ever Changing Silhouette" Fashion Show, you can rest assured that the fashion eras being represented have been diligently researched and that there will be a few laughs in store, because laughter makes learning fun! It is our great desire that you walk away from any one of The House of Whyte programs having learned something new about what our beautiful ancestors wore.
Ever your humble presenters,
Gina White and Lana Walters
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