1896 Cape Style…

Today’s look at 1890s fashion is this amazing cape that was featured in an 1896 issue of the French fashion publication Le Mode Pratique:

Here’s a somewhat loose translation of the description:

Visiting collar for young woman or middle-aged lady in velvet adorned with pearl heavy lace embroidery <guipure>1Guipure was a heavy lace consisting of embroidered motifs joined together by large connecting stitches.. Rain of pearls at the bottom of the sides front stole; satin ribbon bows, overhanging feathers at the neckline.

The above cape is a fascinating combination of the practical and the decorative. The front is essentially an elaborate tabard trimmed in lace. At the bottom, the lace has pearls worked into it (as best as we can make out from the description) and reads pure luxury. The side pieces forming the actual cape are a bit more practical, relatively speaking, with more subdued trim. The overall fabric is a green silk velvet with decorative silk satin ribbons. This is an interesting example of just how elaborate 1890s capes could be. We would have loved to have seen this in person. 🙂

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