“Gracious, they could be sisters!”
Mine is on the left, the stunner on the right I finished and listed in the Etsy store. Same silks and vintage trim as mine, but the pattern matching, reproduction print and old soft velvet is completely different! This is ready to wear, no waiting…perfect for Old West adventures, just add bustle. Now you can look like the person in the old tintype! 😃
For more about this exciting new dress, please click HERE or at our Etsy store.
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Today we take a trip back to the 70s…the 1870s, that is, and more specifically circa 1874 with this afternoon dress from Worth:
Worth, Afternoon Dress, c. 1874; Metropolitan Museum of Art (1975.259.2a, b)
This afternoon dress utilizes the two-color combination style that was typical of early to mid-1870s dresses, consisting of black silk taffeta bodice and outer skirt combined with a pale green/mint green silk taffeta underskirt. What is interesting here is that the bodice and skirts have been cut so as to give the effect of a long robe that opens wide to dramatically reveal the green underskirt. Also, while it’s not easy to make out, the bodice is designed with an underlayer of the same green color- it’s hard to say if it’s a faux vest or simply an inset underlayer. Finally, the neck and front outer bodice edges and cuffs are trimmed with ivory lace. Below is a close-up of the bodice:
The silhouette is fairly standard for the early to mid-1870s and its lines are pretty clean, especially when compared to many 1870s day/afternoon dresses. Note that both sides of the outer skirt are piped with the light green fabric.
The bodice back has a set of carefully sculpted tails that serve to emphasize the train and each tail is emphasized with an outline of the green fabric (which also appears to be the lining color for the tails). Below is a close-up:
Below are some more detailed views of the skirts. It’s interesting that the “outer” and “inner” skirts are really one unit:
Finally, below is a view of the detail where the outer and inner skirts meet:
Compared to many of Worth’s designs, this one is relatively simple emphasizing clean lines with a minimum of trim. In many respects it almost reads “tea gown” although it’s far more substantial and was clearly intended for wear out in public. We’ll have some more interesting 1870s dress styles to show you in the near future so stay tuned!😄
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Today we feature a circa 1894 day dress from the Metropolitan Museum of Art that in many ways encompasses late 19th Century design aesthetics.
Day Dress, c. 1894; Metropolitan Museum of Art ( 35.134.13a, b)
This dress consists of a celedon-colored silk satin underskirt combined with a striped celedon overskirt with olive-colored wavy stripes. The overskirt continues past the waist, creating the effect of an open robe that opens to reveal a brown velvet under bodice trimmed in ivory-colored lace. This same velvet fabric is used in the leg-of-mutton upper sleeves which give way to lower sleeves made from the same striped silk satin as the overskirt. It’s an amazing combination of textures and fabrics: soft and non-luminous silk velvet giving way to very luminous silk satin. Also, the color combination is also harmonious and reveals that some care went into their selection. Finally, we see the use of a lot of dark old gold-colored trim and especially on the bodice front.
In terms of silhouette, although the bustle and trains had largely disappeared by the 1890s, there’s definitely a train with the dress and no doubt an appropriate understructure was employed; this dress doesn’t quite let go of late 1880s skirt style.
The above picture gives a good view of the rear and especially illustrates the color and fabric combinations very well. Below are some close-up views:
Here’s a closer view of the bodice front with it’s silk velvet/silk satin combination. The velvet color could be a brown or perhaps a dark chartreuse- it’s hard to tell. The lace jabot was probably a lighter shade of ivory or off-white back when the dress was made; in our experience lace tends to yellow with age.
This picture nicely illustrates the outer fashion fabric and the trim. The outer fabric appears to be a combination of a lighter celedon-colored base fabric combined with a darker olive, or even steel-colored, striped ribbon-like fabric that’s been attached to the base fabric (as far as we can tell from the pictures). Overall, it’s a fascinating combination of fabric and we’d love to be able to view this live. We hope you’ve enjoyed this view of mid 1890s style.
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