Capes were a major fashion during the 1890s and were made both for exclusive haute couture as well as the mass market. Below is one example of a cape made by Maison Pingat sometime circa 1891-1893:
This case is constructed out of black silk velvet with fur trim and panels of silver metallic beading running along the collar, front, and back. In many respects, it’s reminiscent of decoration found on church vestments. The use of a wide strip of fur trim on the front is interesting in that it appears to be a fixed panel with two separate arm openings. We would have loved to be able to examine the construction more closely because it certainly seems to be a bit more sophisticated design than what one usually sees with capes.
Here’s a good look at the silk lining fabric.
It would appear that the beading panels were constructed separately and applied as applique panels. This design utilizes a dark black ground to show off the beading which takes center stage, drawing the eye towards the center and neckline. It’s definitely a major showpiece and bears further study. We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look at one of Pingat’s masterpieces.