Mid-Bustle Era/Natura Form – Asymmetrical Style

We’re on a roll when it comes to Mid-Bustle/Natural Form style! Today we feature this day dress that was made by Maison Cécile Laisne sometime around 1879 in Paris. What’s interesting about this dress is the use of asymmetrical design elements:

Maison Cécile Laisne, Day Dress, c. 1879; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.45.38.2a, b)

The skirt and bodice are made from a gold/champagne-colored silk jacquard with a silk satin knife-pleated hem made from the same color. The neck and upper bust are filled in with a gauze that’s also in the gold/champagne color. However, the most striking element are the wide jeweled/gold metallic braid trim stripes that run up both sides of the bodice front and decorate the cuffs. Below, a larger strip of trim with the same jeweled metallic braid runs along the lower bodice and skirt, starting at the center back of the bodice and then spiraling down and following the train on the left side.  Below is a close-up of the front upper bodice:

The trim definitely makes the front bodice stand out and it catches the eye, combined with the large center bow.

The view shows the dress silhouette nicely and one can make out the floral jacquard pattern. Two rows of pleating along the hem further serve to accentuate the train. Below is another view of the train:

In the above and below pictures, we see the trim to its fullest extent, running along the one side of the lower bodice and then down the left side of the demi-train.

Below is a close-up of the silk jacquard fashion fabric with it’s floral motif:

And the cuff accents:

And finally, a nice close-up view of the trim- this was, no doubt, all set by hand and represents hours of work.

The use of asymetrical design elements is one major style that’s common in late 19th Century dresses and the above dress is just one example. What makes this one so striking is the use of a wide, very elaborate stripe that immediately catches the eye, especially from behind and while it’s a bit jarring, it does succeed in capturing the viewer’s immediate attention. While this wasn’t a style for everyone, it was definitely one that was guaranteed to get attention- can you say Mrs. Bertha Russell, anyone? 😁


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2 thoughts on “Mid-Bustle Era/Natura Form – Asymmetrical Style

  1. Pingback: More Late 1870s Asymmetrical Style | Lily Absinthe

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