Some Late 1890s Daywear

Spring and Summer 1890s day dresses have always been of interest for us and we recently came across this interesting circa 1897 day dress that resides in the FIDM Museum collection:

P. Barroin, Day Dress, Paris, France, c. 1897; Printed dotted Swiss, silk chiffon, silk taffeta & cotton braid; FIDM Museum (2010.1098.3A-C)

The dress fabric is a red cotton dotted Swiss print with white silk chiffon and white silk taffeta trim. It’s too bad that we do not have a close-up picture of the fashion fabric; the idea of a printed dotted Swiss is interesting but unfortunately the effect is lost at a distance. However, in spite of this, we have a very sporty day dress that has a minimum of trim and embellishment and is definitely meant for being out and about town; the straw boater further reinforces this. The lines are classic 1890s although the wasp-waist, measuring 28 inches in diameter, is somewhat toned down compared to evening dresses and ball gowns of the period.

Interestingly enough, according to the FIDM Museum Blog, this dress was worn by a woman of about 5 feet 10 inches in height- this was a tall woman. The sleeves are indicative of the late 1890s- the leg-of-mutton sleeve style was diminishing. At the same time, we still see the faux shirtwaist style with the crimped silk chiffon in the middle. Finally, P. Barroin was not as prominent compared to the major designers such as Worth et al. but it still shows a sense of balance and proportion and the dress fabric is used to fairly good effect. This dress is representative of a more casual style of day wear that was coming into vogue during the late 1890s and could be considered to be a reflection fashion changing to reflect women’s shifting status in society (albeit, more gradual than what we’re used to today). We would say that this is definitely a worthy candidate for reproduction. 🙂


Happy Friday!

It’s Friday and the start of another relaxing weekend. Thing have been pretty busy around the atelier as we work on current projects, sort through a ton of items that have been in storage for almost four years, and get ready for another trip out to No. 11.  In the meantime, we’ll be enjoying the local scenery… 🙂

 

 

 

 


A Little Commentary On Bridesmaid Dresses

As a follow-up from yesterday’s post, here’s a little commentary on colors for bridesmaid dresses from the February 1883 issue of Demorest’s Family Magazine:

 Quite a new departure has been taken recently in the adoption of colors for the dresses of bridesmaids instead of the repetition of the conventional white. Why it should ever have been considered necessary for bridesmaids to wear white does not appear. There is a pretty sentiment in the purity of the robes of the bride, but the bridesmaids ought to be differentiated in some way from their companion who is about to take a serious step, and separate herself forever from the old happy life. It ought to represent the innocence and joyousness of youth, the free hopeful spirit which is still theirs, and which would naturally express itself in tints and colors, in light delicate green, mauve, pink, and dull pale gold.

It’s interesting to note that it seems that having both the bride and all the bridesmaids all in white was a thing, at least in some weddings. The writer makes an interesting point in that visually, the bride should stand apart because of the significance of getting married. This is an interesting tidbit and just reveals that when it came to wedding dress protocol, things were a lot more mixed than what we’d expect.


Bridesmaid Fashion- 1883

Bridesmaid dresses have always played a role in just about any 19th Century wedding and especially during the 1880s and 90s. Today, we take a look at this circa 1883 example worn by a one Isabella Cameron Murray who was a bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding on March 21, 1883 in Sydney, Australia. This dress is also somewhat rare in that its provenance has been firmly established and can be firmly dated to 1883.1For a full account of Isabella Murray and the significance of the wedding, the full story can be found HERE.

Bridesmaid Dress, c. 1883; Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, NSW, Australia (A7538)

The bodice and skirt are constructed from a creme-colored merino wool fabric and trimmed with lace on the neck, cuffs, and skirt. The skirt is trimmed with four rows of ruching and the bottom hem has long box pleats. The skirt bottom has a hem guard that appears to be of a dark blue sateen and, according to the museum website, is also lined with the same dark blue sateen. Finally, the rear of skirt has a built-up train topped off by a large blue silk satin bow. Below are close-ups of the bodice:

The bodice is closed with pearl glass buttons and they’re fully functional.

And more of an extreme close-up. Note the twill weave pattern of the fashion fabric.

Another close-up of the fashion fabric:

And now for some side profile views:

The dress silhouette could be characterized as “transitional” in that while it still retains much of the cylindrical shape of the earlier Mid-Bustle/Natural Form Era, there’s also a much more developed train that was no doubt support by some sort of bustle support. It’s not quite as extreme as the later “shelf bustle” styles of Late Bustle Era of the mid to late 1880s but it’s heading in that direction.

Below is a close-up of the ruching on the skirt front:

And finally, some of the lace trim:

This is definitely could be considered a more modest, practical dress based on the use of wool merino as the fashion fabric and the minimal trim and it would have seen a lot of use as a “best dress” after the wedding. Perhaps the fabric choice was more a function of not wanting to upstage the bride or simple economics but either way, it’s an interesting example of a dress worn for a formal occasion that’s not made of a silk satin and that alone makes it compelling to us. We hoped that you’ve enjoyed this glimpse of 1880s bridal fashion, especially as it applies to the often maligned “bridesmaid dress.” 🙂


Looking Back- Mining The Miners

Awhile back, we took a trip up to Virginia City, Nevada. Virginia City got its start as a mining town and was a boom town. This picture was taken while we were taking a train ride on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad.


Mining the miners in Virginia City before running off to that new silver strike in Tombstone to take a meeting with some man named Wyatt.