And For A Little Pingat

Emile Pingat’s designs have always been fascinating and especially since he tends to overshadowed by Worth (and Doucet, to a lesser extent). Today, Pingat was mostly noted for his outerwear, but he also designed dresses. Below is an interesting day dress from 1897:

Pingat, Day Dress, 1897; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (M.2012.95.123a-b)

This dress consists of a multi-gored skirt combined with an under-bodice all of a patterned woven silk fabric. The over-bodice simulates a capelet and along with the sleeves is constructed from a red silk velvet. The same color silk velvet can also be seen in the chevrons running along the skirt and the belt. The gigot sleeves are relatively subdued for an 1897 style; what is especially interesting about the sleeves is that the sleeve caps open up to reveal insets of woven silk fabric that’s similar to the skirt and under-bodice. Here’s a close-up of the left shoulder:

Here’s a close-up of the fabric used in the inset on the sleeves. The intricate floral cord border is an interesting decorative touch:

And here’s the fabric used on the skirt and under-bodice:

When you look at the overall dress, the eye is immediately drawn to the shoulders and the two insets provide some interesting color pops to the red outer-bodice. On the flip side, one could also argue that the dress is too busy from a design perspective and that the somewhat dramatic design elements should have been scaled back: one or to works well but not everything. But nevertheless, Pingat’s design is imaginative and the upper sleeve inserts is something that’s not normally seen in 1890s style. Stay tuned for more in our never-ending quest for the unique and different in late Nineteenth Century style.


Just In- Charles Worth: Father of Haute Couture

Just in time for Christmas! This is THE definitive biographical work the life and work of Charles Frederick Worth! Originally published in 1990, this book has been out of print for years and very hard to find. We’re fortunate to have been able to obtain a copy and we’re offering it for sale to some lucky person at our Etsy online store, Atelier Lily Absinthe. We’ve read this book many times over from cover to cover and we highly recommend it- the depth of information is simply amazing! Check it out at our Etsy store: 😁

And For Some More 1890s Outerwear

I‘s been especially cold lately in Southern California and once again, thoughts turn to outerwear…😄


Even in Southern California (and Southern Arizona, for that matter), December can get cold and when it does, our thoughts rapidly turn to outerwear.  🙂 Today we turn to the December 1890 issue of Demorest’s Family Magazine:

Decidedly the most popular outdoor garment this season is the jacket, which is worn by ladies of all ages, whether of petite or portly figure. All styles agree in having the fitted back, differing only in the use or omission of plaits or lap at the side-form and back seams, and the majority have tight-fitting fronts, either single or double-breasted, the loose fronted “Reefer,” and the open, rolling fronts displaying a vest, being the exceptions.

Here’s some examples of styles pictured in Demorest’s:

One of the more interesting and eminently practical is the “Reefer” Jacket:


Here’s another view of the jacket style as part of a complete outfit from the December issue of Peterson’s Magazine:

Finally, just to round things off here are some pictures of extant originals:

Jacket, c. 1891; Auction in AntiqueDress.com

Skirt Suit Jacket, c. 1895; Victoria & Albert Museum (T.173&A-1969)

Afternoon Jacket, Emile Pingat, c. 1885 – 1890; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.76)

Jackets were an integral part of any wardrobe of the period, ranging from the purely functional to the extremely fashionable, and there’s a wide range of possibilities for those recreating historical fashions.



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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