Pleats & Ruffles

Day Two of #VictorianFebruary hosted by @ladyrebeccafashions is: “Pleats and Ruffles”…and those two are my favorite things! Pleatastic taffeta pleats of silk and soft luscious ruffles of organza and batistes…they make my heart flutter.  🙂

Vintage flocked dotted batiste all edged in silk ribbon worn over a daffodil yellow petticoat…now I need to get better images of this one to show the layers. This is the lilac parlor at our Tombstone house.

Blush pink silk and English net with embroidery and antique lace… Someday I’ll attach at the blush custom roses …for the day we can attend balls again.

 

Our friend T.E. MacArthur is so lovely in this violet gown of satin, silk, and tulle…so many ruffles, so many pleats!
Close up of all the kinds of piping and pleating on a tailored violet bustle gown I made.
Wedding gowns are my favorite things to create, this gown was made from a rare silk that was hand carried from Thailand. I used every inch of it.
A special gown for a special friend on her wedding day, we were able to attend in person as well. Love is awesome.
Pretty silk bayleuse pleats and ruffles for underneath an 1890s ballgown. Don’t you love the sound of taffeta?
I had a Tissot moment when I made this “simple cotton frock”. It’s one of my favorite fancy day dresses.
Hand-stitched pleats float even more that machine stitched ones. I promise to finish this gown in 2021, it always seems to get set aside for others.


And Now For A Little Finnish Wedding Style

Today we wander back to a more historical wedding dress theme, travelling (virtually) to Finland to take a look at this interesting wedding dress that was made in 1882 for a one Constance Sofia von Scharnhorst (nee Von Ammondt ):

Wedding Dress c. 1882; Finnish Board of National Antiquities (KM 41072)

This dress follows a fairly conventional early to mid 1880s silhouette; the “natural form” style was passé and was once again shifting towards a trained/bustle style. Although there’s not a lot of detail about specific materials, it can be safely assumed that we’re looking at a silver gray/gray silk taffeta and/or silk satin. The skirt and bodice front have detailed ruching along with silk satin cross-hatching running in a strip, spiraling up the skirt front. Below the satin strips is a duller-toned fabric, probably silk taffeta. The same cross-hatching is also present in the  three-quarter sleeves and is reminiscent of Renaissance styles. Completing the skirt decoration is a strip of lace mounted below the cross-hatching.  The overall effect is interesting in that while the basic gray color appears the same, the dull and shiny lusters of the various fabrics creates the illusion of there being different colors. Of course, we may be wrong since we only have two photos to go on but it’s still interesting. Finally, it must be noted that the hem consists of three rows of knife pleating. And here’s a more detailed view of the skirt:

As can be seen from the above detail picture, there’s a lot of decorative style effects going on here, perhaps too much, but it’s a wedding dress… 🙂 What’s also interesting is that the train is relatively plain compared to the main skirt. The overall effect is amazing and it just staggers the imagination thinking about all the hours that went into creating the various effects for the skirt alone. This is definitely a magnificent dress and we look forward to one day replicating this style, or a close approximation, for one of our clients. 🙂



Taking A Step Back To 1878…

And for a change of pace, we step back a few decades to circa 1878 with this wonderful Mid-Bustle Era/Natural Form day dress that’s identified as a wedding dress1This dress is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection and on their web site, the dress as identified as a “Wedding Ensemble”, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/156665. Unfortunately, they don’t provide any information on how they arrived at that conclusion so this has to be taken with a grain of salt.:

Wedding dress, c. 1878; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.18a, b)

Wedding dress, c. 1878; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.18a, b)

Below is a nice close-up showing details of the fashion fabric and some of the details.

Side Profile

This dress is constructed of an embroidered wine colored stripped silk satin for the overskirt and bodice combined with a purple silk satin for the underskirt, bodice front and cuffs. Finally around the cuffs, there’s a think band of the purple silk sating that’s been pleated and finished off with white lace. In terms of silhouette, this one is cylindrical, characteristic of the Natural Form/Mid-Bustle Era and has no train. The bodice is a cuirass style, falling over the hips. The decorate effect on the underskirt hem is interesting, employing a combination of pleating, ruching, and use of the stripped fashion fabric in the form of vertical tabs running along the upper hem.

Now, as for the dress being a wedding dress, this is a very possible. Unfortunately, there’s no documentation posted online at the Met Museum website and we can only assume that there is documentation but that it didn’t make it online for reasons unknown. But nevertheless, this dress could have been used as a wedding dress in that during the late 19th Century, the use of white as THE wedding dress color was not a rigid convention; a wedding dress was often a bride’s best dress and was meant for wear long after the wedding. Moreover, the idea that one would have a specific dress to be worn only on the wedding day and then put away was also not the norm and in fact, was simply not feasible for most people, not to mention that it was viewed as wasteful. The idea of the one-use wedding dress would start to develop towards the end of the 19th Century but only by the very rich.2For a more complete discussion of wedding dresses, check these posts HERE, HERE, and HERE. Ultimately, this dress presents a classic late 1870s/early 1880s day look and works for a variety of social occasions. 🙂



Some More From Pingat…

Lately, it seems that Emile Pingat has become the subject of interest for us here at Lily Absinthe and combined with our love for 1890s fashions in general, we’ve been finding all manner of Pingat’s designs. For today’s consideration is this circa 1894 ball gown:

Pingat, Ball Gown, c. 1894; Museum of Fine Arts Boston (56.816)

Rear View

As ball gowns go, this is a relatively simple design with a minimum of trim (mostly beading on the front bodice), relying instead on combinations of lace, and silk satin to achieve its effect.  With roses strategically placed on the skirt front, collar and shoulder, there are pops of color that offset the blush pink/ivory silk satin. The gigot sleeves combined with gored skirt definitely place this dress safely in the mid-1890s and create the classic hourglass style that was typical of the period. Overall, as with many of Pingat’s designs, this is elegant and clean and would definitely make an excellent bridal gown. Although best known for his outerwear, Pingat also produced many elegant dress designs- ball gowns, evening/reception dresses and day dresses and this is just one excellent example.



An 1890s Wedding Dress

Today we take a look at an 1890 wedding dress from the V&A Museum that not only has extensive provenance, but it even has a picture of the original owner, a one Cara Leland Huttleston Rogers, wearing the dress on her wedding day on November 17, 1890. This is a rare treat indeed. To begin, here’s some pictures:

Francis O’Neill/Stern Brothers. Wedding Dress, c. 1890; Victoria & Albert Museum (T.276,A-F-1972)

This dress has the simple, clean lines characteristic of 1890s styles with the addition of a train. The dress is constructed of a cream-colored corded silk for both skirt and bodice. The skirt is relatively simple and unadorned except for some artfully arranged swagging along the hem, punctuated by rosettes. However, the bodice is a completely different matter- built on the same cream-colored corded silk, the bodice is framed in the front by a embroidered gold/mustard brown-colored floral appliques jeweled with pearls running along the middle of the bodice and continuing up to follow an open neckline. Below is a picture of the bride:

Cara Leland Huttleston Rogers, wearing the dress on her wedding day on November 17, 1890.

The neckline is further accented by a row of ruffled silk chiffon leading up to the shoulders. The shoulders are decorated with upright panels that further continue the decorative trim design and are heavily jeweled with pearls. The upper sleeves are ruched and while there’s fullness towards the top, it lacks of the extensive gigot sleeves so characteristic of the mid-1890s. Naturally, the cuffs are also finished with more silk chiffon. Finally, the peplums on the bodice are also accented by the jeweled embroidered applique strips that harmonize with the rest of the bodice’s decorative trim. Below are some close-ups of the bodice:

The decorative appliques are even more extensive on the bodice back:

The decorative design on the bodice is very unique and it definitely attracts the eye to the upper dress and puts focus on the bride. The relatively neutral cream skirt and bodice provide a blank canvas for the decorative design. This dress design is definitely unique and is an interesting take on bridal dress designs of the period.