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Women attempted to break through barriers in the arts as well. The Royal Academy of Art in London allowed women to sit in on certain art classes. Where once they could have only aspired to decorative arts—and the Victorian era is full of such efforts—women now sought painting, sculpture, and architectural training more energetically than ever before.
It’s a small thing, but this is the time when bonnets and caps and other capricious headgear disappear, to be replaced by real hats. A “golden age” of millinery starts. Women no longer settle for being works of art when they can create art themselves. The notion of Aestheticism takes hold, and women join men in longing for “art for art’s sake.”
P.S. Researching Costume and Fashion History will be offered for the last time this summer on Tuesday, June 9, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., in the South Court classrooms, Stephen Schwarzman Building at 42nd Street.