Gray is a color that works for a variety of fashions and especially when it comes to daywear. Here is just example that every effectively combines complementary shades of gray (we kind of cringe using that phrase… 🙂 ), made by a one Amedée Françoise (unfortunately, we were unable to find anything in English about this Couturiere):
As can be seen from the above pictures, this dress combines a solid dark gray silk underskirt with an embroidered patterned silk bodice and train. The patterned bodice fabric has a darker gray background and while this would simply serve to darken the entire dress, this fabric actually has the opposite effect partly because of the fabric’s luster and the white and lavender embroidered pattern.
Except for the the band of tassels running along the hem, the skirt is unadorned with a smooth back and three rows of knife pleating on the front. Interestingly enough, the train appears to be composed of two different shades of gray silk fabric; the darker gray makes up the majority of skirt while the lighter shade is seen peeking out at the bottom where the skirt and train begin. Although it’s hard to tell from the available pictures, we would be inclined to say that this appears to be a minimal underskirt. Also, this light gray matches the trim. Finally, the bodice is also relatively unadorned except for fringe and tassels running along the edges.
Style-wise, this dress is firmly in the Mid-Bustle Era, 1880 to be precise, and as such it’s characterized by having a cylindrical profile, low demi-train, and defined balayeuse. Moreover, the bodice is reminiscent of an 18th Century coat with cutaway lapels.
To better appreciate the contrasts in the two base fabrics, close-up views are available here:
This dress utilizes a masterful combination of grays to achieve an effect that is both understated and elegant at the same time. With this dress, the fabrics and cut do all the talking. 🙂