Trending for December 1890- Outerwear

Even in Southern California (and Southern Arizona, for that matter), December can get cold and when it does, our thoughts rapidly turn to outerwear.  🙂 Today we turn to the December 1890 issue of Demorest’s Family Magazine:

Decidedly the most popular outdoor garment this season is the jacket, which is worn by ladies of all ages, whether of petite or portly figure. All styles agree in having the fitted back, differing only in the use or omission of plaits or lap at the side-form and back seams, and the majority have tight-fitting fronts, either single or double-breasted, the loose fronted “Reefer,” and the open, rolling fronts displaying a vest, being the exceptions.

Here’s some examples of styles pictured in Demorest’s:

One of the more interesting and eminently practical is the “Reefer” Jacket:


Here’s another view of the jacket style as part of a complete outfit from the December issue of Peterson’s Magazine:

Finally, just to round things off here are some pictures of extant originals:

Jacket, c. 1891; Auction in AntiqueDress.com

Skirt Suit Jacket, c. 1895; Victoria & Albert Museum (T.173&A-1969)

Afternoon Jacket, Emile Pingat, c. 1885 – 1890; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.76)

Jackets were an integral part of any wardrobe of the period, ranging from the purely functional to the extremely fashionable, and there’s a wide range of possibilities for those recreating historical fashions.



A Pingat Day Dress- Circa 1880s

P

ingat is not a name people today associate with dress styles. Sure his atelier made them but in today’s fashion literature, he’s more associated with outerwear than anything else. Recently, we came across some interesting pictures of a circa 1880s Pingat day dress that was sold on an auction site:

We were unable to obtain more high-resolution pictures but they’re still detailed enough to get a good idea of the style. First though, we wanted to try and date this a bit more specifically than simply being “1880s”- auction websites are notorious for poor dating. Based on the dress silhouette, our best estimate would be the 1881-1884 time frame. The rear skirt has some fullness in the back and the bodice back is also shaped to further accentuate the skirt’s fullness. However, at the same time, the skirt’s fullness doesn’t read “large” like what one sees with late 1880s skirts; of course, a lot of this comes down to staging and it would be interesting to have seen what sort of bustle the skirt could accommodate. At the same time, the skirt just doesn’t read the natural form/mid-bustle era style characteristic of the 1877-1881 time frame. Also, it must be noted that the bodice doesn’t completely cover the hips, which also tends to support the mid-1880s time frame. In the end, we’re going to qualify this all with the usual “our best guess” disclaimer. 🙂

As for the dress itself, it appears to have been constructed from a blue-striped white/ivory silk satin with no extra trim- it could have had some lace but if so, it’s long gone. The above picture of the label gives a nice close-up view of the fashion fabric. Below are close-up pictures of the bodice front and back:

The collar just seems to naked without some lace… 🙂

This dress is hemmed with two rows of knife pleating of fabric that’s similar to the fashion fabric only that the stripes appear to be more closely spaced together. It’s also an interesting effect having the knife pleating stripes running perpendicular to the fashion fabric stripes. Finally, separating the two rows of knife pleating is ruching. Viewing the dress at a distance, one cannot help but a bit disoriented by all the striping running in different directions. 🙂

This is a very nicely designed day dress and it could have even worked for a reception dress. However, the most interesting part about this dress is that it was actually a combination day/evening dress as can be seen from this evening bodice:

Unfortunately, there are no other views of the night bodice so we don’t know much but judging from the voluminous lace running down the back, it’s clear that the night bodice was intended to provide a contrast to the more tidy day bodice. Maybe one day some more pictures of the night bodice will surface. Overall, this is an interesting dress and it uses stripes to maximize its impact while at the same time, the optical effect of the stripes is a bit jarring. We hope you’ve enjoyed a view of this very unique dress.



Pingat-1880s Style

Today we take a look at one of Pingat’s earlier works, in this case an evening cloak/coat from the later part of the 1880s (circa 1885-1889). Compared to previous examples we’ve posted from the 1890s, this cloak takes a completely different silhouette characteristic of late 1880s style. Here are a few views:

Pingat, Evening Cloak, c. 1885-1889; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.484)

This cloak is constructed from an floral-patterned ivory silk jacquard combined with a peach velvet with dark peach/gold appliques that creates a two-tone effect. In terms of silhouette, this cloak is somewhat of a hybrid in that it combines the upper body and sleeve styles characteristic of mantles with a long coat style on the bottom. The cloak shape closely follows the classic late 1880s dress style, allowing ample room for the bustled train.

One can get a fairly good view of the peach-colored fashion fabric that’s on the front , back, and lower sleeves. It appears to be a close-napped velvet but of course, this is speculation given the lack of any specific details on the museum website or a close physical examination. 😉

Three-Quarter Back View

Close-up of back detail.

From this close-up of the back, one can get a good look at the contrasting silk brocade floral fabric versus the deeper peach velvet fabric and it’s applique decorative design. Cloaks and mantles provided a large canvas for the designer to utilize all manner of decorative effects and Pingat was definitely one to use this to maximum extent; this particular example not only sees a combination of different design styles but does so in a harmonious way. Victorian Era outerwear has always been a source of fascination for us in that it combines the practical and utilitarian with the artistic and while each designer had their own take on this, Pingat’s was especially unique. We’ll be hunting for more interesting examples to post here so stay tuned. 🙂



Pingat- Early 1890s Outerwear

Emile Pingat was one of the leading Parisian couturiers during the late 19th Century and was especially known for his outerwear. We first begin with this circa 1891 mantle:

Pingat, Mantle, c. 1891; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.337)

This cape is constructed from a pale blue wool overlaid with metallic gold bullion and gray velvet appliques that create a floral design motif. Trimming the front, cuffs, and collar are turquoise feathers.

Pingat, Mantle, c. 1891; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.337)

The side profile gives a good view of the typical mantle profile- long in the front and short in the rear to accommodate the bustled train, or in this case, a more truncated train created by a bustle pad. And to get an idea of how it would have looked worn with a dress:

Interestingly enough, it appears that the dress underneath is this 1893 evening dress by Worth:

Worth, Evening Ensemble Dress, 1893; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.622a–c)

Of course, this also raises the question of putting on the mantle over the dress’s gigot sleeves…. 😉

Below is another example of Pingat’s work from the early 1890s, this time a cape dated to circa 1891-1893:

Pingat, Cape, c. 1891-1893; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.60.6.8)

This cape is constructed of a black silk velvet and trimmed with fur along the front and the collar. Running along the front and up onto the shoulders are strips of a silver jeweled trim; at the shoulders, the trim accentuates the epaulets and makes them stand out as a design feature. Also, the color is also trimmed with the same type of silver jeweled trim. Below is another view of the cape’s opening:

It’s hard to completely discern but it appears that the cape opens on the front sides. The lining material is also interesting as can be seen with the label:

 

The silver jeweled trim continues on the back in a dramatic manner, using most of the back and really takes over to create a very opulent look.

Rear View

The above two garments only give a hint at Pingat’s amazing design skills and in future posts, we’ll looking at some more examples. Stay tuned! 🙂



Doucet & 1890s Style

While the House of Worth was the leading fashion house during the late 19th Century, it was by no means the only one. Couturiers such as Jacques Doucet, Emile Pingat, and Jeanne Paquin, just to name a few, were in constant competition with each other. In today’s post, we’ll be taking a look at Doucet and his take on 1890s style.

Doucet Ballgown c. 1898 - 1902

Doucet was one of Worth’s leading competitors and like Worth, he utilized a number of marketing techniques that are now standard in the fashion industry to include dressing celebrities (and especially actresses). Doucet’s creations tended to have a softer silhouette, utilizing large quantities of lace, tulle, and chiffon as well as metallics and lame.

Doucet Ballgown 1898 - 1900

Doucet, Ballgown, 1898 – 1900; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.3275a–c)

Doucet Ballgown 1898 - 1900

Three-Quarter Front View

The above ballgown, made sometime between 1898 and 1900, is made from what appears to be a silk chiffon backed by layers of lame. Unfortunately there are no close-up pictures available- it would be very interesting to have a close look at the fabric. With the exception of some tulle at the top of the bodice and leaf garlands on the shoulders, there is no trim and the dress relies on the richness of the materials themselves.

However, Doucet’s designs were not always so “simple”. Here we see one of Doucet’s more iconic work, a ballgown made sometime in the 1898 – 1902 time frame:

Doucet Ballgown c. 1898 - 1902

Doucet, Ballgown, c. 1898 – 1902; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.3274a, b)

Doucet Ballgown c. 1898 - 1902

Side Profile

Doucet Ballgown c. 1898 - 1902

Rear View

Here once again we see the fabric itself as the central focus of the dress style only this time there is an elaborate floral pattern created by leaves and foliage appliques on a gold lame background backed by what appears to be a silk chiffon underlayer. The upper bodice and sleeves are lace the overall effect is of shimmering gold.

So what about day wear? Here’s one example:

Day Dress Doucet c. 1890

Doucet, Day Dress, c. 1890; Kyoto Costume Institute (AC10445 2001-4AC)

The fashion fabric for this dress is a silk crêpe de chine with a stencil print pattern of bamboo stalks and the sparrow motif has been hand-painted separately. The fabric was most likely made in Japan for the export market and is an excellent example of the Japonisme theme that was often utilized by fashion designers during the 1880s and 90s. One again trim is minimal, limited to the hem, sleeves and collar finished off with a silk chiffon fichu.

However, designers could also works against type as with this ballgown that Doucet made sometime around 1890:

Doucet Ballgown c. 1890s

Doucet, Ballgown, c. 1890; Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina (1998.13A-B)

Doucet Ballgown c. 1890sDoucet Ballgown c. 1890s

Doucet Ballgown c. 1890s

Close-Up of Bodice

Doucet Ballgown c. 1890s

Rear View

The use of black and white stripes, artfully cut and blended together (especially on the bodice) reads “modern”, something we would expect to see from the 1950s. The black and white chevrons on the skirt front are especially bold and they immediately draw the eye. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information about this dress (at least from what I could tell from the museum website) and it raised some interesting questions in regard to provenance- it reads so differently than the majority of Doucet’s work that we almost wonder if this is a dress that’s been mislabeled- it certainly bears further study.

Although we can see two different approaches to design by Worth and Doucet (with a bit of overlap), it’s evident that there was an increased emphasis on making using the dress itself as a canvas for creating the design’s major effect. By this time, the use of trim is completely secondary and does little to distract the eye from the main attraction of the fabric design and this can be especially seen with Doucet’s two very different ballgown designs. We hope that you’ve enjoyed this brief excursion into some of Doucet’s designs. Stay tuned as we bring you more in the future.