Les Petites Dames de Mode


An extraordinary exhibit the likes of which the Berkshires has never seen, featuring 59 stunningly beautiful miniature “fashion models” that portray the history of women’s fashion from 1855 to 1914. John R. Burbidge, retired Senior Designer of the famed Priscilla of Boston, began the painstaking work of creating his 29-inch tall “ladies” almost 40 years ago, and each is a masterwork. The outfits, exquisite in every detail, are all completely original designs by Burbidge.

Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum has announced the indefinite extension of the extremely popular exhibit “Les Petites Dames de Mode”(The Little Ladies of Fashion.)  Les Petites Dames de Mode has been a phenomenal success and promises to become a significant attraction in the Berkshires. It seems that nothing quite like this exists in the world – our visitors have been declaring this exhibit worthy of any major museum anywhere!”

The 1893 mansion provides the perfect backdrop for the exhibit of sixty, almost half-life size “Ladies” in their hand-made costumes, each a work of art. They portray the history of women’s fashion from 1855 to 1914 in exquisite detail. After extensive historical research, John R. Burbidge, designer and creator and retired Senior Designer for the famed bridal house of Priscilla of Boston, imagined himself working as a designer in a bygone era. The assemblage represents the culmination of almost 40 years of exacting effort.

Ventfort Hall also features the work of his wife, Mrs. Cile Bellefleur Burbidge.  The award-winning Mrs. Burbidge, one of the top wedding cake-makers in the world, contributes a spectacular wedding cake for display. Her $10,000 to $20,000 cakes have appeared in the Smithsonian, Tiffany’s, weddings for heads of state, etc. and another is currently part of the Peabody Essex Museum’s “Wedded Bliss” display in Salem, Massachusetts.

Mr. Burbidge is author of the book, “Les Petites Dames de Mode – An Adventure in Design” published by Reverie, which is available for purchase at the Ventfort Hall Museum Shop.