Ladies of the House of Worth Quarantine edition, headshots of three women in period clothing


The pandemic sure has changed the House of Worth ladies

Clarissa has learned nothing, Fannie is a witch, and Maude will cut you. Which one are you?


Siobhan Ball

Internet Culture

The House of Worth Ladies are back and, like all of us, they’ve changed a lot during the quarantine period. Meet the new and, er, improved ladies of the House of Worth.

Woman in a green dress with a small bustle labelled Imogen 'Had learned cheese making. Eats lots of cheese. Dating some guy named Roquefort who may or may not exist.' Woman in a pink dress with huge puffed sleeves labelled Clarissa 'Has learned nothing of value. This is fine. Everything is fine. *Everything is not fine*.' Lady in a tight bodied red dress labelled Fey 'Now distils her own liquor. Only speaks to dogs as a rule. Had a seance and summoned Byron. Thinks of herself as cultured.' Woman in a flowing pink skirt and military cut jacket labelled Fannie 'Officially a witch. Wanted in two states for 'freeing' cats in 'unsuitable home'. Hold parties at home with her brood of possums. Drinks 'potions' all day.' Woman in a green dress with a flowing skirt and huge puffed sleeves labeled Euphronia 'Moved to a deserted high rise. Lives in a fortress of no emotion. Stockpiled all the toilet paper. Has trained all the local pigeons to shit on passers by.' Woman in a heavy peach dress with huge puffed sleeves and a large collar holding an umbrella 'Will cut you. No seriously. This is a sword umbrella. Go away, leave me alone.'

When last we met the ladies, curated by novelist Natania Barron, it was spring and quarantine had just begun. COVID-19 was new and frightening instead of ubiquitous and frightening, and quarantine was an unfamiliar novelty we were all just starting to figure out. Basically, the girls were young and fresh then, adapting what we all thought was going to be a short departure from everyday life instead of an endless, dragging “new normal.”

Woman in a dark red coat over a white skirt labelled Imogen 'Expensive wine in a tea cup. Cats hiding in skirts and hat. Fills up dancing card with fake name. Self-isolation is honestly a bit of a relief.' Woman in a full skirted green dress with a high collar labelled Clarissa 'Absinthe in a cordial glass. Singing to birds at her window. Having a jolly time. Secretly full of existential dread.' Woman in a flowing black evening dress labelled Fey 'Straight liquid but in a cut crystal goblet. Fleet of tiny dogs all named bon bon. Silently screaming all day. Hasn't changed out of this gown since she put it on in February.' Woman in a knee length pink shift with black edging along the bottom labelled Fannie 'Lemon water, sprig of mint. One cat, practically married. Embracing underthings only life style. Wanders around petting a cat who is secretly a possum.' Woman in a long black coat with a feathered hat and a cane labelled Euphronia 'Hip flask. Animals are for those with actual hearts and emotions. Was prepared for this and told you all it was going to happen. The sight of daffodils makes her cry.' Woman in a white and purple patterned dress with a bell skirt labelled Maude 'Ran out of liquor last week. Big dog that might be a wolf. Hiding knives in her corset. Jack London fangirl.'

Seven months on, the ladies have adapted, grown tougher, and transformed into their true selves. Fannie has gone from petting her possum-cat in her underwear to becoming a potion-drinking witch. Imogen makes cheese and Fey distills liquor while talking to the ghost of Byron, who she summoned during a drunken seance one night. Euphronia, meanwhile, has set herself up in an abandoned high-rise, with a fleet of pigeons trained to crap on anyone who dares encroach on her territory. Poor Clarissa, on the other hand, has learned nothing of value, passing her days in a constant state of panicked denial.

Hello, Fey here. Who wants to come to my drunken seance?
Fannie. Socially distanced Possum Party is Nov 7th, ladies. Imogen is bringing cheese. We will shit talk about Euphronia.
I feel like Clarissa but I have actually learned how to make two basic types of cheese, so technically I suppose I'm Imogen
Fey. The dogs don’t talk back yet, and Byron is just a little too flirtatious, going to have to send him back and try someone else.

Some Twitter users went on to invent their own House of Worthsonas, with writer/director Melody Cooper even posting a picture of herself cosplaying as her own creation, Regina: queen of all she surveys, kicker of GOP butt, and with a dagger hidden in her fan.

Prudence * holds tea parties with fictional characters * dating the attic ghost * keep having to loosen the corset strings... is this black magic? * keeps a pet raven on the pallid bust of Pallas on her chamber door

But the big winner this time around was Maude, who was so popular it actually set her name trending on Twitter. Seems there’s just something about her well-armed misanthropy that resonates with people (mostly women) online at this stage during the pandemic.

Started a Maude; will end a Maude. #MaudeForever Although Euphronia would work with one modification. (See attached.) It’s good to have pigeons as backup for your sword umbrella. Imo.
Maude. Definitely Maude. I become even more Maudish (yes, it is definitely possible), when I see tweets from certain people. Why block them when you can have the joy of repeatedly reporting them?

Though perhaps artist @songhkang_art has a better grasp on the reality of things—according to her, we’re all Clarissa just acting like we’re Maude.

We're all Clarissa acting like we're Maude
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The Daily Dot