Fashion in the 1890s saw an explosion in dress styles and especially when it came to skirt and jacket combinations. Here’s just one interesting example of a circa 1895 day dress from the Musée de arts decoratifs Paris :
Day Dress, c. 1895; Musée des Arts Décoratifs (26009 AB)
This dress has an interesting color palette consisting of a light gray silk taffeta bodice combined with darker gray silk velvet sleeves for bodice/jacket; and the same light gray taffeta for the outerskirt and train combined with a red and gold silk brocade underskirt. Even more striking is that the lapels on the bodice/jacket are also in the same red and gold silk brocade- the effect is stunning. Below is a close-up of the bodice:
Here, one can make out the stylized pockets surrounded by gold embroidery. Also, the top of a faux vest in the same red brocade can also be seen with a waist underneath. It’s very likely that it’s all one unit giving the effect of multiple layers. Here’s a close up of the brocade:
Below are a couple of profile pictures:
Judging from the pictures, it would appear that the outer and inner skirts are really of one unit and represent an interesting evolution of the over/underskirt combination found on later 19th Century styles. Also, while the bustle style had mostly disappeared by the 1890-91, it still lingered on a bit in a more muted form with padding. Finally, here’s a three-quarter rear view that shows off the train:
This is an interesting dress in that it takes the basic walking suit of the 1890s and then takes it a bit further with using contrasting colors to create an over/underskirt style that’s reminiscent of what was more common in the 1880s. Colorwise, we seen the use of analogous colors with the two shades of gray (although they’re technically neutral) and the use of red as a contrast. It’s not a combination that one normally encounters and it definitely stands out. But what’s more interesting is that the dark gray is on a velvet which absorbs light thereby creating a dull luster while the light gray silk taffeta does the opposite. We hope to come across more interesting examples of this style so stay tuned. 🙂
In out last post, we assembled the pieces for both the exterior fashion layer and the interior lining/facing layers for the Eton jacket.
In full disclosure, we’d like to say that this project has been an interesting learning experience in that it’s demonstrated to us that there is a lot more involved to drafting a pattern than simply drawing lines on paper following some formula, cutting out the pieces, and putting it together. A lot more. The one thing that nobody really ever discussed in pattern drafting and overall development is that once a pattern is constructed and tested out with one or more toilles, there’s still the matter of working out just how exactly the garment is going to be constructed. Of course, it’s assumed that one just knows all the relevant techniques and that bears little or nor discussion but the reality is with historical garments, there’s a lot that’s become obscure or even lost over the years. Fortunately, there are a number of references out there so it’s not an impossible task but it’s one that’s going require a lot of practice and work to master. So with that said, let’s proceed to the next steps…🙂
We now arrive at one of the most crucial stages- assembling the jacket body.
A lot more pressing is in order but overall we’re pleased with how it came together.
And now onto constructing the cuffs:
The decision to utilize turn-back cuffs was purely an aesthetic one and we could have just as easily used a number of different styles… 🙂 Here’s the cuffs pinned to the sleeves:
And voila, sleeves!
And finally, the sleeves are attached and set in the proper position. All that remains is some final touch-ups.
(To be continued…)
Today we feature another evening dress from Maison Worth, in this case one from circa 1894:
Worth, Evening Dress, c. 1894; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.1095a, b)
Unfortunately, the pictures haven’t been updated in awhile but from what we can determine, the construction appears to be an ivory or champagne-colored silk brocade or jacquard with a curl motif that runs in vertical stripes up the skirt and then diffuses on the bodice. The upper bodice/neckline and sleeves appear to be a gold/champagne-colored silk velvet decorated with lace. For the silhouette, it definitely reads mid-1890s although it doesn’t precisely follow the typical gigot style of the period; rather, it’s more of puffed sleeves covered with large flaps. It’s an interesting effect and in many ways reminiscent of renaissance style and especially in the way the silk bodice front meets up with the upper velvet neckline.
A big no-no by today’s curatorial standards but it’s nice seeing a Worth dress being worn by a live model (although the dress appears to be somewhat oversized for the model and there’s probably no proper corset on underneath): 🙂
To us, this is one of Worth’s more understated/restrained designs and while it’s by no means a show-stopper, it is elegant and demonstrates an interesting take on mid-1890s style.
I love how the sheer “lingerie” dresses come to life with colored petticoats and corset covers…just finished this ensemble cobbled from extant lace pieces and carefully deconstructed vintage cotton cafe curtains. Definitely a labor of love…without the pink silk, it’s just some old cotton frock. 🙂
Ruffles, ruffles…inside and out. They make my girly heart beat faster. 🙂