A Little More From The House Of Worth

Judging from all the posts we’ve been putting up lately, it would seem that Charles Worth and the House of Worth have become a hot topic around the Atelier. Well, in truth, Worth has always been a hot topic with us here at Lily Absinthe. 🙂 We never grow tired of examining his legacy- whether it’s just a day dress or one of his exquisite ball gowns, the details and sheer workmanship impress and inspire us. Now, we also have to be truthful in noting that yes, Worth (we tend to use “Charles Worth” and “The House of Worth” somewhat interchangeably) occasionally put  out a few clunkers- dresses with style details that leave you in wondering- but overall, Worth set the bar by which his competition measured itself (and trust me, the competition was often very good).

Given the passing from Fall to Winter, one particular example of Worth’s work, a ball gown/evening dress (depending on your interpretation) from circa 1900 – 1905 stands out with us:

Worth Evening Dress Ball Gown c. 1900 - 1905

Worth, Evening Dress/Ball Gown, c. 1900 – 1905; Metropolitan Museum of Art (1979.251.4a, b)

Worth Evening Dress Ball Gown c. 1900 - 1905

Three-Quarter Rear View

This dress is made from a silver/white silk satin with ivory lace sleeves and trimmed decorated with metallic silver embroidery and crystal beads worked into a vine-like floral motif. The decorative patterns are further enhanced with silk flowers that serve to add a three-dimensional texture to the dress. In terms of line and structure, this dress representative of what was characteristic of the early 1900s from 1900 to 1905 with a silhouette that hints at the s-bend corset. But more interesting was Worth’s use of a Rococo Revival style- this is especially evident on the front of the bodice.

As is often said, the devil is in the details so here are some close-up pictures of the decorative patterns found on the dress:

We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief glimpse at one of Worth’s masterpieces and as we find more of these, we’ll talk about them here. 🙂

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