Emile Pingat’s designs have always been fascinating and especially since he tends to overshadowed by Worth (and Doucet, to a lesser extent). Today, Pingat was mostly noted for his outerwear, but he also designed dresses. Below is an interesting day dress from 1897:
Pingat, Day Dress, 1897; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (M.2012.95.123a-b)
This dress consists of a multi-gored skirt combined with an under-bodice all of a patterned woven silk fabric. The over-bodice simulates a capelet and along with the sleeves is constructed from a red silk velvet. The same color silk velvet can also be seen in the chevrons running along the skirt and the belt. The gigot sleeves are relatively subdued for an 1897 style; what is especially interesting about the sleeves is that the sleeve caps open up to reveal insets of woven silk fabric that’s similar to the skirt and under-bodice. Here’s a close-up of the left shoulder:
Here’s a close-up of the fabric used in the inset on the sleeves. The intricate floral cord border is an interesting decorative touch:
And here’s the fabric used on the skirt and under-bodice:
When you look at the overall dress, the eye is immediately drawn to the shoulders and the two insets provide some interesting color pops to the red outer-bodice. On the flip side, one could also argue that the dress is too busy from a design perspective and that the somewhat dramatic design elements should have been scaled back: one or to works well but not everything. But nevertheless, Pingat’s design is imaginative and the upper sleeve inserts is something that’s not normally seen in 1890s style. Stay tuned for more in our never-ending quest for the unique and different in late Nineteenth Century stye fashion.
Today the theme is burgundy velvet and what better way to show it off than in an evening dress by Worth. 🙂 Better yet, we have both the dress AND a portrait of the individual that it was made for! The itself was made by Maison Worth around 1898 and belonged to Edith Kingdon Gould, the wife of railroad tycoon George Jay Gould and is on display at Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, New York; Lyndhurst had belonged to the Goulds at one time and is now a museum belonging to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Worth, Evening Dress, c. 1898; Lyndhurst Mansion, Tarrytown NY
The evening dress is interesting in that it’s a relatively simple style, unadorned by any trim or decoration (if you don’t count the fur stole she wears with the dress in her portrait). Overall, the effect is very restrained, reflecting Ms. Kingdon-Gould’s status married to a wealth railroad tycoon (she had been an actress prior to marrying Gould). And now for the portrait itself:
Théobald Chartran, Portrait of Edith Kingdon Gould, c. 1898
Unfortunately there’s not a lot of information available in regard to the dress or the portrait- they were part of an exhibition at Lyndhurst that’s ended. This dress provides a fascinating snapshot into a bygone era made more interesting in that the dress style is very restrained when compared with some of the more over-the-top designs of the era.
Our good friend Elizabeth Emerson at Elizabeth Emerson Designs has launched a kickstarter campaign to establish an online lace museum. We feel this is a great idea so we’re boosting the signal. For more details, click HERE. We feel that this is a worthy project and we wish her success in this endeavor.
And for something a little different today, below is a fashion plate, or rather a cover illustration, from the November 1918 issue of The Delineator. One of the truisms about fashion is that it reflects the zeitgeist or spirit of the times and the First World War was no exception. The First World War saw the recruitment of large numbers of women into the military for the first time (although the numbers were small compared to the Second World War) and naturally, some sort of uniform was required…pictured below are female uniforms appropriate for both the Navy and the Army. Also, even where uniforms were not involved, the war years witnessed an evolution in women’s fashions where they became much more simplified with a focus on comfort and functionality. This is an area that we hope to explore in future posts so stay tuned. 🙂
Tea Gowns were popular for wear at home, increasing in popularity during the 1880s and 1890s. The tea gown was a simple loose-fitting garment that was essentially an elaborate dressing gown/wrapper and as such was meant to be worn at home in the company of immediate family and close friends and especially if one was dining or taking tea. The tea gown was meant to be worn without a corset (although some women wore them anyway) and was never worn outside the house. One interesting variation on the tea gown design can be found with these two Classical Grecian-inspired designs that were offered for sale as patterns in the November 1891 issue of the Canadian edition of The Delineator:
Both of the above gowns were princess-cut and shaped by a combination of darts and gores. From the above illustrations, both garments were structured yet gave the illusion that the wearer was wearing a chiton. The loose sleeves go a long way towards enhancing this illusion. Of course, wearing an actual chiton would have been considered to be way too extreme for the time… 😉
We don’t know just how popular these patterns were but at a minimum, they would have been perfect for a fancy dress ball or the like. 🙂 It’s fascinating to see how Victorians interpreted prior periods in their dress and the above is just one instance of this; too bad the pattern isn’t available today. We hope you’ve enjoyed this little excursion into these tea gown variants.