An Early 1890s Design From Maison Felix

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.


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Antique- Gowns From The Lily Absinthe Collection

Today’s prompt for #FallForCostume hosted by @redthreaded is: “Antique”…I’ve been an antique textile collector all my adult life, it’s nearly impossible to choose what I love best in my museum collection…dresses have souls; or memories that come with them…either way, they exist so we can cherish and share them. First one is my treasured Felix, a beautiful ballgown that came to me with her shoes! Someday, I want to reproduce her, I’ve already (carefully!) taken a pattern.

 

Second, is our cobalt and sapphire Worth ballgown…another one I have plans to reproduce and have already received the commissioned silk, it’s just finding the time.