And For Some More From Maison Worth

Today we feature another ball gown from Maison Worth, in this case one from circa 1895 from Drouot, a French antique auction website:

Worth Ball Gown c. 1895

Worth, Ball Gown, c. 1895; Drouot Auction Website

As noted in previous posts, late 1890s and early 1900s ball gowns designed by Worth featured simple silhouettes with the emphasis being placed on the fabric itself  with a minimum of trim.

The gown was made of a silk lampas brocade that was expressly woven for Worth by Tassinari & Chatel1Located in Lyon, France, Tassinari & Chatel still exists today. in a “Reine des fleurs” pattern taken from a drawing of the original decoration of the bedroom of Madame du Barry in Versailles. Here’s a view of the train:

And a close-up of the bodice:

As with many of Worth’s designs, ivory chiffon was often draped around the neckline and incorporated into the shoulders. Although this was no doubt done to frame the head/face and provide a little contrast to the fashion fabric, it looks a bit overdone to us. The fashion fabric is overly obscured and its effect diminished. Of course, we’re looking at chiffon that’s over 100 years old so who knows? 😉 And now for some close-ups of the fashion fabric:

The above pictures give a good view of the pattern and just how intricate it was. Silk lampas fabric in smiliary patterns can still be obtained today from Tassinari & Chatel but trust us, it’s not inexpensive. 😆 This dress is an amazing piece of art and is yet another stunning example of Maison Worth’s range of styles.

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And Now From Maison Worth 😉

When it came to haute couture, Maison Worth was a master not only noted for its imaginative designs, but also for the sheer output of product as demonstrated by the extensive collections of Worth gowns in many museum collections such as the Met in New York. Also, thanks to the internet and all manner of reference works, many of Worth’s creations are well documented and known so it’s always a treat when one comes across examples that aren’t in museums and thus less well documented- principally from auction websites. Below is one such example, a circa 1900 ball gown we came across on Drouot, a French antique auction website:

Worth, Ball Gown, c. 1900; Drouot Auction Website

In the above view, we get a closer look at the bodice front. What’s interesting is that the bodice pieces make no attempt to match up the pattern and thus it looks a bit jarring when view up close.

As with many of Maison Worth’s gowns of this period, the emphasis was on the fabric itself and thus there was a minimum of trim. The fabric appears to be an ivory silk brocade with a floral pattern (the lighting in the pictures can sometimes make fabric colors deceptive). Here’s a closer view of the fashion fabric starting with part of the skirt:

The floral design is beautiful and we would have liked to be have been able to view it in person. Also, unfortunately, there’s no information online as to the garment’s provenance- that would have been interesting to know. But that all said, this ball gown is a wonderful example of Maison Worth’s late 1890s/early 1900s designs. In future posts, we’ll have some more wonderful new (at least to us) examples to look at. 😉

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.


Parisian Color Trends For Fall 1889

Georges Garen, Embrasement de la Tour Eiffel, 1889; Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Color is a major element in fashion styles and, as with style in general, it’s constantly in a state of flux. The situation was no different during the Nineteenth Century and while there was no entity like Pantone to constantly monitor the color trends, they were still noted. In the October 1889 issue of Peterson’s Magazine, it was noted that:

The newest color of the season is a rich deep shade of chaudron-red, which has been christened Eiffel-color, after the famous tower of the Exhibition. It is supposed to be of the same hue as the red-painted iron-work of that stupendous edifice, since its tint has been mellowed and modified by the weather. Green, except in the dark-emerald shade, has gone entirely out of vogue. Yellow, in the warm golden tones, will be a good deal used for trimmings,

Probably the most interesting comment is about “chaudron-red” which is a mash-up of French and English for “cauldron red” (or Eiffel Red) and it describes the original color that the Eiffel Tower was painted when it was first erected for the Paris Exhibition of 1889. The original paint was meant as a protective coating and had a copper-red color because of its active ingredient, iron oxide, which gives the paint its protective quality, preventing rust to the steel that made up the Eiffel Tower’s construction (even to this day, iron oxide paint is used for treating steel beams). So what did this look like? Probably something like this:

Interestingly enough, recently, when it’s time to repaint the Eiffel Tower in 2021, it has been suggested that it be repainted in the original chaudron-red, similar to the shade depicted above. So far, the French Ministry of Culture has not made a decision…

Besides “Eiffel Red,” it’s noted that green is completely out except in a dark emerald shade, perhaps along these lines:

And for yellow something like these:

And now well things together with some examples of the above colors at work, starting with this evening dress from Maison Worth:

Worth, Evening Dress, c. 1889; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.59.20)

James McCreary & Co., Visiting Dress, c. 1889; Metropolitan Museum of Art

Detail of Cuff

Both of the above dress examples incorporate many of the colors noted in Peterson’s although we must note that there are also plenty of examples where other colors were used; in fashion there’s never any absolutes, just broad generalizations. We hoped you have enjoyed this brief excursion into trending colors of 1889 and stay tuned for more in the future. 🙂

More On The Ensemble Dress

Here’s another ensemble dress from Maison Worth, also from circa 1893. Style-wise, it’s similar to the example that we presented in yesterday’s post but perhaps a little more restrained. Here are a few views:

Worth 1893 Day Reception Afternoon Dress

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.

Worth 1893 Day Reception Afternoon Dress

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:

Worth 1893 Shoes

Matching shoes to outfit.

Stay tuned for more posts on this subject. 🙂