And For Another Take On c. 1912 Formal Wear

We haven’t done a lot with the Teens Era lately but it doesn’t mean that we don’t like it. 🙂 Recently, we came across two circa 1912 formal dresses what we thought were spectacular, especially with their use of the color gold combined with gold metallic embroidery to create their effect. Both are dazzling and definitely caught our eye. Enjoy! 🙂


In yesterday’s post, we showed a circa 1912 presentation gown. Just for some variation, today we’re showing a very similar dress style from 1912-1913 by Gustave Beer:

Gustave Beer, Evening Gown, c. 1912 -1913; FIDM Museum

We were fortunately able to view this dress in person and get up fairly close to it. The silhouette follows a slender form created by flat (relatively speaking in comparison to the earlier s-bend corset) corsetry. However, at the same time, the geometric lines created by corsetry were offset by draping on the outer garments which was especially evident with more formal styles such as this one. The upper dress combines empire and kimono style elements, especially with the high waist combined with the loose drape-like shoulders.

This dress is constructed from a gold charmeuse trimmed with gold floral-patterned embroidery. Combined with the main dress is a short overskirt of black silk netting with jeweling, artfully cut so as to end at the high waist, giving emphasis to this area. The arrowhead curves of the outerskirt also points the viewer’s eye upwards; this dress is a masterful example of the use of vertical lines in fashion design. Below are closer views of the netted outerskirt:

Note the v-shaped gold plastron that is placed over the the silk net overskirt that gives further emphasis to the waistline.

Finally, this is a view of the train. It’s been cut in a diamond shape that gives full emphasis to the embroidery design:

In comparison with the dress in the previous post, we believe that this is a more dramatic dress yet both deliver a serious impact that only differs in the cut of the fabrics and the use of trim. Also, while both employ embroidery, this dress does so in a more tidy and controlled manner culminating with the diamond-shaped trim.



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Fashion Transition- 1890, Part 2

Jules Benoit Ivy, Femme dans un Atelier, 1890

In our last post, we discussed some of the styles that were trending in early 1890 starting with the Directoire and Redingote styles. Today we move on to take a look at the jacket-bodice and pseudo-robe styles. This example from the early 1890s gives a good close-up view of the jacket-bodice style:

Jacket/Vest Bodice, c. early 1890s; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.55.41.3)

The jacket-bodice combines a fairly standard  form-fitting jacket with a faux vest that’s reminiscent of an 18th Century waistcoat. The faux waistcoat extends well jacket to reveal elaborate embroidery work that flows up the open front, ending at the neckt in a Mandarin collar. The close-up below provides a nice view of the embroidery:

The “faux vest” could often took the form of shirring made to look like a waist as with this circa 1890-1893 Worth day dress:

Worth, Day Dress, c. 1890 – 1893; Kerry Taylor Auctions

With this dress, the shirring runs down the opening in the outer bodice and then picks up again with the skirt front. The white shirring provides an interesting contrast to the black floral patterned dark green silk satin, especially in that the fashion seemingly sucks up light and the white shirring throws out light; the eye can’t help but be drawn to the dress front and then up to the wearer’s face. Below is a close-up of the bodice front:

And for another take on the jacket-bodice style, here’s  a circa 1890 afternoon dress made by Worth:

Worth, Afternoon Dress, c. 1890; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2015.688.a-b)

This dress combines a bolero style jacket constructed from a black and orange-brown patterned velvet with a lighter copper-colored silk satin vest/underbodice combined with an outerskirt of the same color. The underskirt utilizes the same black and orange-brown patterned velvet trimmed with embroidered flower appliques along the sides and bottom. With this dress, the contrast is one of harmonizing yet different fabrics.

One interesting variation on the jacket-bodice style is this circa 1890 reception dress that has the jacket acting as more of a redingote style:

Reception Dress, c. 1890; Goldstein Museum of Design (2013.004.012)

The jacket/coat is a black and olive green striped silk taffeta with gold/red floral motifs. The underskirt is a solid black silk taffeta trimmed with black jet beading. Finally, the collar is trimmed with black ostrich feathers. Below is a side profile:

Sometimes it’s difficult to neatly classify dress styles but this one to us emphasizes the outer jacket/coat as more of an unified bodice/overskirt rather than simply a coat over a skirt.

Finally, we take a look at the pseudo-robe style. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of extant examples but here’s an early 1890s dinner dress made by Worth:

Worth, Dinner Dress, c. 1890-1895; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.636a, b)

Looking at large sash and knot combined with the plunging neckline this dress is reminiscent of a kimono and the floral pattern silk jacquard further reinforces the Japonisme style. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of extant examples of this style.

Rear View

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this all-too-brief over of fashion in early 1890 and we’re always on the search for fresh content so stay tuned! 🙂

Illustrated London News, c. 1890

 



The Bustle Dress – A Brief Overview, Part 6

Emile Claus, Mrs. Claus, 1886

In our last post, we covered the mid-1880s which saw the transition to the Second or Late Bustle Era. In today’s post, we cover the rest of the decade and maybe bled over a little into the early 1890s since fashion often doesn’t precisely follow the calendar.  😉 Just to give a little perspective, below are a series of fashion plates from Peterson’s Magazine spanning the years from 1885 through 1889.

Peterson’s Magazine, August 1884

Peterson’s Magazine, November 1885

Peterson’s Magazine, August 1886

Peterson’s Magazine, June 1887

Peterson’s Magazine, June 1888

In the above plates, although specific bodice and skirt styles may vary, along with fabric and color choices, the emphasis is always on the train. And just to give a little more detail, here’s some views from 1887 issues of Der Bazar (aka Harper’s Bazar):

Fashion plates are great but as we all know, these tend to portray the ideal and not necessarily what people wore. So to add some perspective, here’s some period photographs that depict the Late Bustle Era silhouette:

Archduke Josef Karl of Austria and spouse, Archduchess Clotilde, neé Princess of Saxe Coburg and Gotha.

Miss Ethel Bond, 1886; Musee McCord (II-81334)

And finally, let’s take a look at some extant garments starting with this 1888 afternoon dress from Worth:

Worth, Afternoon Dress, 1888; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.664a, b)

The silhouette is distinctly later 1880s and nicely illustrates one of the major styles that utilizes contrasting under and overskirts. The overskirt is made from a dark brown silk jacquard with a cream-colored silk taffeta underskirt. Below is a close up of the outerskirt fashion fabric:

The bodice also utilizes the same fabric as the under and overskirts with the opening so to reveal the lighter colored fabric as a faux vest. Trimming the collar, inner bodice and underskirt is what appears to be brown-colored corded lace.  Below is a close-up:

Below is a three-quarter rear view of the dress:

With this afternoon dress, Worth masterfully employs the design elements and it definitely embodies the late 1880s look.  Next, Worth also employs the same design aesthetic in this circa 1888 combination day/evening dress (pictured here with the evening bodice):

Worth Combination Day/Evening Dress, c. 1888; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.1093a–e)

This dress has the same silhouette as the afternoon dress and employs a similar scheme of contrasting under and overskirts as well as a differently contrasting bodice. The front underskirt is a good/ivory silk taffeta or satin with gold floral appliques. On both sides, one can also make out jeweled inset panels that are set in the underskirt’s folds. Below is a close-up of the front underskirt:

Turning to the bodice, the evening bodice is constructed of a solid dark gold/yellow-colored silk taffeta that’s decorated with jeweling on the front and along the neck and shoulders. Below is a closer look at the bodice:

The side profile pictured below gives a good view of both skirts and the jeweled inset panels, a suitable feature that only further enhances the design effect.

In contrast to the front underskirt, the overskirt is relatively plain, a solid dark gold/yellow-colored silk taffeta that matches with the bodice fashion fabric. The train is a double layer and has no adornment. This is an interesting dress in that it places its most dramatic effects to the dress front and bodice. The plainness of the overskirt can especially be seen below:

The above two examples illustrate both the daytime and evening late 1880s silhouette quite nicely. Of course, we could easily pull out a dozen more examples but the point’s been made. 🙂 In terms of style, one could say that the 1880s and the Late Bustle Era ended on a high note and as with all fashion, it would begin to experience another period of change where the rear was de-emphasized and greater focus was on a more upright figure that was in many respects similar to the Mid-Bustle Era. But in the years to come, the focus was to shift to the shoulders with gigot sleeves and the waist and hips with the wasp-waist or hourglass figure- but that was a few years off. We hope you’ve enjoyed this multi-part survey of the Bustle Era and in the future, we hope to expand on more.



The Bustle Dress – A Brief Overview, Part 5

Fashion trends often involve dramatic shifts in style and the 1880s was no exception. In today’s post, we examine the return of the bustle in a more extreme form than what was found in the early 1870s and with it, a shift from upright and cylindrical to trained, placing emphasis on the derriere (or caboose, as some wags termed it). But however one views it, this was a great example on how fashion is always evolving. Enjoy!


We now turn to the Late Bustle Period from 1882 through 1890 when the bustle returned with a vengeance, now more angular and sharply defined with harder edges than its 1870s predecessor. Probably one of the most iconic examples of Late Bustle Era style is this circa 1884-1886 dinner dress:

Evening Dress, American or European, c. 1884 - 1886, silk; The Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.63.23.3a, b)

Evening Dress, American or European, c. 1884 – 1886, silk; The Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.63.23.3a, b)

Below is a closer look at the “shelf ” bustle/train:

The above evening dress epitomizes the sculpted “shelf bustle” that is characteristic of the 1880s. However, elements of the 1870s still remain: the bodice is remains at waist level and draped skirts are utilized to create a dramatic effect with the skirts being arranged to show off the pleating and trim to its fullest advantage. The “shelf bustle” profile was found in both day dresses and more formal evening and reception dresses and as could be expected, the formal dresses tended to be more dramatic and extreme in profile and the length of the train. The is certainly the diametric opposite of the sleek, vertical lines characteristic of the Mid-Bustle Era.

Transition in fashion is rarely dramatic, rather it’s a more gradual process as can be seen with these fashion plates:

Peterson’s Magazine, September 1881

Peterson’s Magazine, September 1882

For 1881 and 1882, the silhouette appears to mostly follow the Mid-Bustle style. However, here and there we see more fullness just behind the hips at waist level. But for 1883, we begin to see the emergence of a more trained or bustle style:

Peterson’s Magazine, March 1883

Peterson’s Magazine, August 1884

And by August 1884, we see the full emergence of a new bustle style. 🙂 Still skeptical? Consider these two illustrations from Demorest’s Family Magazine:

Demorest’s Family Magazine, March 1884

The above two illustrations were not simply based on a couture ideal but were firmly rooted in everyday style in that patterns to make the ablove dresses were offered for sale by Demorest’s. If a potential market of dressmakers and home-sewers didn’t exist, it’s doubtful that Demorest’s would have gone to the trouble of working up patterns of these for sale. On the couture level, the transition seems to have followed the fashion press as with this circa 1883 dinner dress by Worth:

Worth, Dinner Dress, c. 1883; Kyoto Costume Museum (Kyoto Costume Institute (AC9712 98-29-2AB)

This dress is constructed of a wine-red silk satin and velvet with a stripes and floral pattern, most likely utilizing the devoré technique. Silhouette-wise, it leans more towards the earlier Mid-Bustle style but then again it may be just the angle of the photo. Nevertheless, one can make out a very full gathering of fabric to the rear of the waistline and possibly padded or bustled.

Fashion transition often see the retention of older style elements which can linger on even though the overall style has changed as with this hybrid style circa 1885 day dress which incorporates a long cuirass bodice while at the same time having a bustled train of sorts:

Day Dress, French, c. 1885; Silk plain weave (taffeta) and silk plain weave with warp-float patterning and supplementary weft, and silk knotted tassel; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (M.2007.211.34a-b)

Day Dress, c. 1885; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (M.2007.211.34a-b)

Day Dress 1885_13

Day Dress, French, c. 1885 – Rear View

Day Dress, French, c. 1885 - Front View

Day Dress, French, c. 1885 – Front View

However, we believe that the 1885 date may be a bit late and perhaps it dates more towards 1882-1883 and it could simply be more of someone holding onto an older style.  Below are two examples of Late Bustle Era day fashion in full flower:

Walking Dress, c. 1885; Metropolitan Museum of Art (1978.295.8a, b)

Silhouette-wise, this dress has come into its own, leaving earlier styles behind. As with many Late Bustle Era dresses, the bodice is short so as to allow the skirt (or skirts, it’s hard to tell) to be trained/bustled at waist level. Also, as with many of these dresses, it’s constructed of one type of fashion fabric, in this case a light-colored gold-brown paisley and trimmed with a solid dark gold-brown on the cuffs and collar. Also, the bodice is open with an inset faux waist, which was also a common style of the mid to late 1880s.

The pictures above and below perfectly illustrate the Late Bustle Era silhouette with a well defined train that’s concentrated at the top.

And finally, here’s another day dress from the mid to late 1880s that has the characteristic silhouette:

Day Dress, c. 1885-1890; From Augusta Auctions (Number 36.15757.100.2)

This dress is constructed from a dark teal-blue silk satin or taffeta for both the bodice and skirts. The bodice, shoulders, and part of the overskirt are also trimmed with a gold and the same dark teal-blue and give the dress a pop of bright color that lightens up the overall dress color. The slashed sleeve heads give the bodice a Renaissance style and provide further pops of color.

The two pictures below illustrate the dress silhouette and details of the upper train. There is a distinct bustle and there is fullness to both under and outerskirts but no train, as was common with day dresses.

So how was the Late Bustle Era silhouette created? With structured foundation garments- in contrast to earlier bustles and crinolettes, bustles were sharp and angular, often constructed of steel, as illustrated by the examples below:

Bustle, 1883 - 1887

Bustle, Cotton, Metal, Copper, c.1883 – 1887; FIDM Museum Library (2005.5.174)

Bustle, Steel Frame, c. 1884; Victoria & Albert Museum (T.131C-1919).

Bustle, c. 1884; Victoria & Albert Museum (T.131C-1919).

Bustle Pad, French, . 1885Glazed calico trimmed with silk cord and stuffed with what appears to be straw; Victoria & Albert Museum (T.337-1978)

Bustle Pad, French, c. 1885; Victoria & Albert Museum (T.337-1978)

From just the few examples above, it’s evident that that bustles during this period came in a variety of materials and shapes. However, in contrast with earlier bustles, these are shorter and more concentrated around the natural waist.

(To be continued…)

 



The Bustle Dress- A Brief Overview, Part 4

In our last post, we focused on the influence of the princess line style on the Mid-Bustle Era. Today, we take a step back to fill in the reset of the picture with non-princess line styles.

Le Moniteur De La Mode, No. 47, November 1876


To continue our story, the Mid-Bustle Era was an interesting time in the fashion world where the bustle silhouette style characteristic of the early and mid-1870s give way to the late 1870s to a slim, upright, cylindrical silhouette. Often referred to as the “natural form era” or Mid-Bustle Era, the period from roughly 1878 through 1883 saw a dramatic reversal in dress styles: where once the style focused on draping and gathering of varied fabrics over a bustle, the emphasis was now on the controlled use of fabrics and trim to create a style with clean, sharp lines. Below are some examples, albeit idealized, of the basic style which could be found for both day and evening wear:

Le Moniteur De La Mode, No. 27, July 1876

Journal des Demoiselles, September 1878

Petersons_Sept 1880

Peterson’s Magazine, September 1880

Journal Des Demoiselles 1880

Journal Des Demoiselles, 1880

Revue de la Mode_1880_1

Revue De La Mode, 1880

Journal Le Printemps October 1881

Journal Le Printemps, October 1881

Journal Le Printemps June 1881

Journal Le Printemps, June 1881

Journal Des Demoiselles 1881

Journal Des Demoiselles, 1881

In examining this relatively short-lived period, it must be noted that “natural form” is somewhat of a misnomer in that the term refers to the ideal of the reform dress movement which centered around the idea that clothing should enhance the body’s natural form rather than constrict and re-shape it. The styles of 1878-1883, like their predecessors, relied on structured undergarments to modify the body’s appearance- something that dress reformers did not have in mind.

We start with this circa 1878-1883 day dress:

M2003.76.1.1-3-P1

Day Dress, c. 1878 – 1883; McCord Museum (M2003.76.1.1-3)

M2003.76.1.1-3-P3

M2003.76.1.1-3-P2

The silhouette is definitely later 1870s with a long cuirass bodice extending down over the hips and there’s no bustled train at the top. At the same time, there is a train extending out, above the hem of the skirt; an train extending out at a low level was one style variation found during this period and in extreme cases was known as the “mermaid tail.” This was probably meant as more of a reception dress and a dress meant for everyday activity. Also, note that these dresses often came equipped with a “train hook,” a small loop attached to the end of the train that allowed the dress’ wearer to pick up end of the train so it would not drag on the ground.

Color-wise, we see the use of two shades of red with silk for the lighter shade and velvet for the darker shade that read as a jewel tone. The use of velvet for the dark burgundy red provides a contrast to the lighter silk in that the velvet traps the light while the lighter silk provides a more reflective luster. This is a common effect used during much of the late 19th Century but a beautiful one nonetheless.

Here are some more examples of daytime dress styles, starting with this one from circa 1877-1878:

Constructed from a gold silk taffeta, this dress consists of a separate bodice and skirt. The bodice is cuirass style, extending over the hips, and has full sleeves and trimmed with rows of knife pleating. The is constructed in two pieces with a flat front of horizontal and vertical ruched strips and a rear has fullness running the entire length of the skirt. One could argue that this look is a trained or “bustled” but it still flows on a vertical plane. Here’s one more example of this style from circa 1878:

Afternoon Dress, c. 1878; Museum at FIT (70.65.6)

This dress is constructed of a combination of solid and patterned dark blue silk taffeta for both the skirt bodice. On the bodice, the patterned silk frames the center front of the bodice and ends in the collar. On the skirt, the underskirt is solid blue and the two layers of swagged material on the dress front is the black patterned material- it’s hard to tell and you have to really blow up the picture to see it. From the two above examples, it’s interesting to note that both are either monotone or near-monotone in color and use various textures such as ruching and gathering to create the design effects.

Finally, here’s one last example that utilizes designs elements that were very characteristic of late 1870s style, contrasting fabrics in two different colors/patterns:

Day Dress, c. 1870 – 1880 (more likely 1878-1881); De Young Museum (52.12.1a-b)

In terms of silhouette, the bodice is a cuirass bodice with three-quarter sleeves combined with double layer skirts. Most of the bodice and the underskirt are a green silk taffeta and the front bodice and outerskirt are a blue-colored floral patterned silk jacquard (or similar, it’s hard to tell from the picture). The patterned silk fronts on the bodice make for a harmonious contrast with the solid colored silk, especially since each silk’s luster is a bit different. For the skirts, the two fabrics provide a similar contrast and the v-shaped outerskirt draws the eye upwards, following the path of the patterned silk. Using a v-shaped outskirt in a contrasting fabric was one style device that was often used during this period.

Next, we turn to evening wear such as this circa 1877 dinner dress created by Worth:

Worth, Dinner Dress, c. 1877; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.69.33.3a, b)

This is another brilliant illustration of the late 1870s silhouette- the bodice and overskirt are constructed of a gold-colored silk jacquard in a floral pattern combined with a pistachio-green front underskirt that appears to be made of silk taffeta. Below is a closer view of the silk jacquard:

Close-up of fashion fabric.

Below are views of the rear train. As with the first example, the drapes from the bottom. The double-layered train has an underlayer of the same green pistachio used in the front underskirt, shown off through a series of folds, and is combine with an overlayer of the fashion fabric; it’s an interesting design effect. Below are some more pictures that show off the train:

Side Profile

Rear View

The above pictures give a really dramatic view of the train, especially with the rear bow giving the illusion of being the only support for the gold jacquard train.

Close-up of rear

Generally speaking, Mid-Bustle Era style emphasized vertical lines but at the same they could also emphasize horizontal lines as with this reception dress from the early 1880s:

C.I.38.61ab_F

Reception Dress, French, c. 1881 – 1883; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.38.61a, b)

The dress silhouette is definitely slim and cylindrical with a bodice that’s somewhat shorter than what one normally finds with dresses of this period and a very high-waisted skirt to compensate. The dress is constructed from a gold silk satin with alternating layers of ruffles and gold metallic appliques; the same appliques are also on the bodice front and sleeve cuffs. The multiple layers on the dress front emphasize horizonal lines while keeping within the overall silhouette. Below is a closer look at the bodice front and upper skirt:

C.I.38.61ab_d

Close-Up Of Front

One interesting thing of note here is that in contrast with the prevailing norm of a longer bodice coming over the hips, this one has a shorter bodice and relies on a form-fitting upper skirt to do the work.

C.I.38.61ab_S

Side Profile

From the side profile, one can discern a small amount of fullness running up the entire length of the skirt that creates a small train. Here’s some rear views:

C.I.38.61ab_TQL

Three-Quarters Rear View

Rear View

 While not as elaborate as the front, the back of the dress has three layers of knife pleating extending to about mid-way on the dress. In contrast to the front, vertical lines are emphasized. Just for completeness, here’s some details:

Detail of bodice.

The above dress illustrates several elements of the Mid-Bustle Era style and in particular, the silhouette which is slim and cylindrical with a minimal bustle. Day dresses tended to have either no train or at most, a demi-train while evening dresses and ball gowns retained a longer train. However, either way, the train was low, flowing from the bottom of the skirt rather than off of an elevated bustle.

Luis Alvarez Catala, “Woman Before a Mirror,” 1878

And just for one final example, this circa 1880 evening or ball gown:

Evening/Ball Gown, c. 1880; Augusta Auctions

The silhouette on this evening or ball gown (it could really work for either, in our opinion) is interesting in that while it maintains the cylindrical silhouette characteristic of the period, the skirt has been shaped so that a train of sorts is created that runs down the entire skirt length and there’s no train leading away from the skirt hem. Both skirt and bodice are constructed from a yellow silk taffeta trimmed in white lace. The bodice is an extreme cuirass shape with deep points, both front and back. The flatness on the front of the dress is emphasized with horizontal rows of pleats and ruches trimmed with white lace. To the rear, the fashion fabric is fairly plain with two layers of lace trim running along the hem.

The side and rear profiles give a good idea of how the skirt is shaped in the rear and we can see a deep gentle pouf running down from the upper to mid-skirt combined with fullness leading to the bottom. While this skirt follows the basic design aesthetic of the period, it’s made some gentle departures with the rear skirt shaping and the lack of a train of any sort.

The above examples and those in the previous post give only a hint of the variety of Mid-Bustle Era styles and there were a wide variety of fabrics, colors, and trims that were utilized and the possibilities were endless. Stay tuned for more… 🙂

(To be continued…)