And Now For Something A Little Different From Maison Worth

And just for a little contrast from yesterday’s post, today we present a different take on the evening dress from Maison Worth with this elegant evening dress from the late 1880s- circa 1888-1889:

Worth, Evening Dress, c. 1887-1889; Metropolitan Museum of Art (49.3.24a–e)

Looking at the dress, it’s a mix of various silks and lace elements. On the dress front, we see an outer skirt and bodice of a pink blush silk jacquard with a floral design motif, reminiscent of Japanese kimono fabric, combined with horizonal strips of a matching pink blush silk satin. Underneath the silk satin strips, we see a more gold colored silk moiré. Along the hem, the same silk moiré turns into horizontal strips, most likely pleating. Finally, the dress front is covered with a large piece of gold/ivory lace that’s been arranged in a large asymmetrical swag. Here’s a closer view of the front:

For the bodice, we see the base fabric as the floral-patterned silk jacquard mentioned above with the bodice being sleeveless and taking on the profile of a corset. If we look carefully, we can make out the form of an interior under-bodice of pink blush silk satin covered by lace, creating an illusion that the upper bodice of made only of lace (especially with the shoulder straps). Finally, the sleeves are also a combination of lace and silk satin.  Here’s a closer look at one of the shoulders:

Note that the decorative bows are in a gold silk satin that closely matches the color of the lace. Here’s a rear view of the upper bodice to give a better idea of the bodice construction:

Now we turn to a side profile:

In contrast with the front, the rear is relatively simple, consisting of just the silk jacquard outer skirt that tapers back in a well-proportioned train. Here’s two rear views of the rear that really shows off the train nicely:

And for a detailed view of the front skirt hem:

Along the dress front, we see an underlayer consisting of a gold silk moiré covered with horizontal strips of a more pink blush silk satin. Are you wondering just how this all comes together? Below is an interior view from the front- it appears that the dress had a double-lacing system for putting the bodice on with outer layer lacing up on the side.

And a view of the bodice interior. The seams are boned and  you can see the bone casings over the seam lines. The boning was meant to act as a way of maintaining the bodice shape rather than structuring the body- the corset was for that.

The above two pictures nicely illustrates the color scheme for the dress- blush pink combined with with gold. This is an interesting color combination and harmonizes very well, especially for an evening dress- the luster must have been amazing under nigh lighting (which was exactly the design goal). Once again, another amazing design from Maison Worth and certainly worthy of replicating. 🙂

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