When it comes to late 19th Century couture, Maison Felix is often overlooked but it was a force the equal of Worth, Doucet, and Pingat. Here’s an afternoon dress from circa 1890-1891:
Felix, Afternoon Dress, c. 1890-1891; Albany Institute of History and Art (1946.56.2ab)
This afternoon dress is an interesting style, drawing on 18th Century elements, especially in the use of a garnet-colored silk with a gray floral pattern styled to read as a robe and combined with a large lace inset on the front and sleeves. The flowing robe-like lines also hint at a tea gown but the silhouette is far too sharply defined: it’s clear that this garment was meant for wear with a corset and accompanying underpinnings. However, there’s nothing to say that this dress couldn’t have served as an at-home dress… 😄
Below are side profile and rear views. Although it’s hard to tell with the museum staging, we do believe that this is definite a very late 1880s/early 1890s dress. There is definitely a train although it’s not that prominent while at the same time, the sleeve heads have some ease- a harbinger of styles to come. 😉
Below is a fashion plate from the August 1889 issue of Peterson’s Magazine that further illustrates this style, especially with the figure second from the left:
We hope you’ve enjoyed this little view of late 1880s/early 1890s style.
Become a Patron!
Spring is here and that means long sun-filled days, time spend outside, and of course, picnics. ♡ Below is a circa 1900-1903 afternoon dress from Jacques Doucet:
Doucet, Afternoon Dress, c. 1900-1903; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.579a, b)
This dress is constructed from a white silk chiffon with a printed lavender floral design and trimmed in horizontal bands of lace running up the skirt. Lace is also liberally used on the bodice in vertical stripes and a large centerpiece at the neck. Bands of turquoise silk velvet on the sleeves and a large turquoise silk velvet sash at the waist completes the look. The term “afternoon dress” seems to have been used somewhat interchangeably with “lingerie dress” which describes dresses made from lightweight diaphanous materials such as lightweight linen, cotton, organdy, chiffon, and voile. This is just one example of a characteristic style of the first decade of the 20th Century. Stay tuned for more! 🙂
Become a Patron!
Here’s another ensemble dress from Maison Worth, also from circa 1893. Style-wise, it’s similar to the example that we presented in a previous post but perhaps a little more restrained. Here are a few views:
Worth, Ensemble Dress, c. 1893; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.620a–e)
To us, this bodice reads visiting/afternoon dress, more of a formal day-oriented garment. Below, the bodice reads more of a reception dress or possibly evening dress- although that’s probably stretching things a bit.
The Alternate Bodice
Once again, we see a jacket style for the day bodice with a filler of tulle. The skirt and jacket bodice are a pea-green silk brocade with black lace trim and accents. The night bodice with its light cinnamon colored silk velvet provides a pleasant contrast to the pea green. Compared to yesterday’s example, this dress is a bit more restrained but it’s still a nice design. The silk brocade fabric is interesting and we only wish that there were some close-up pictures of the fabric detail. It’s evident that both the dress and the one in yesterday’s post used identical or fairly similar pattern pieces. Finally, here’s an interesting part of the ensemble- matching shoes:
Matching shoes to outfit.
Stay tuned for more posts on this subject. 🙂
Become a Patron!
When you slouch to do a hat check but the darned thing is so tall.😄
Pleating takes time, but it’s the understitching to the foundation skirt that takes even longer! 🙂