An Evening Dress From Maison Worth

Today we feature yet another find from Maison Worth, in this case an evening dress from the mid-1890s from Drouot, a French antique auction website:

Worth, Evening Dress, c. Mid-1890s; Drouot Auction Website

This dress is constructed of a pink silk satin (possibly a duchesse) for both skirt and bodice. The skirt is relatively plain except for the ivory silk chiffon running along the hem. The bodice is another matter, decorated in front with a series of black bead and jeweled appliques on the front and on each sleeve cuff. Running along the bustline and the bodice back is ivory netting with spangles. To complete the design, the sleeves are three-quarter length with what appear to be pink chiffon sleeve extensions with spangles. It’s an interest effect, to say the least.

Looking at the sleeve heads, we would venture that this dress was made sometime in the 1893-1895 time frame- there’s a definite fullness but it’s not as expansive as was characteristic of the large gigot sleeves that developed as a style trend in 1895-1897; but of course, this is only conjecture on our part. Below are two close-ups of the bodice front:

The front applique panels create a very complex design. On close examination, it would appear that the base was composed of the same shade of pink netting as found on the sleeve extensions. And now for two rear views:

And a close-up of the sleeve detail:

The sleeve extensions (they see to be more than just “cuffs” to us) are quite elaborate, combining pink netting, spangles, and metallic fringe at the ends. This was probably not the most practical dinner for dining… Finally, just for completeness, here are two views of the bodice interior:

Note the distinctive petersham with the Worth logo. As with most formal bodices of the period, all the seams are boned and it’s interesting to note that the front has three bones sewn in side-by-side. All the seam edges have been finished by hand and overall, the interior appears fairly tidy.

The evening dress is fascinating in that it’s an example that hasn’t been well-documented since it’s been in private collections as opposed to a museum. We’d certainly be interested to know the provenance of the dress; it would be great to be able to find out more about but we suspect it will always remain somewhat of a question mark. We hope you’ve enjoyed most fascinating design from Maison Worth.



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