Reaction to last week’s be-bowed pink and black confection was quite divided: you either loved pink and black and ruffles, or found it revoltingly saccharine. There were also two camps of thought on what it represented. Most of you thought commedia dell’arte. Like Isabella though, my first thought was definitely 17th century, and I do think that even if she was meant to be a commedia dell’arte figure, all the details of her dress were taken from 17th century costume – the match is just too spot-on.
Personally, in many ways I liked the outfit, but like Hana, the overall look left me a teeny bit cold. It was just too perfectly matched and meticulous. I think it would look amazing in real life though, on someone who wasn’t exactly the same colours as her dress and whose hair got a teeny but frizzy and windblown as she danced! I’d probably rate it 7 10ths of a point lower the 7.7 out of 10 that it actually rated.
This week let’s look at an actual extent fancy dress costume.
The sale record for this garment claims it is a fancy dress representing Elizabethan costume. Lanvin, however, was noted for drawing on historical garments for inspiration, basing gowns on Velazquez portraits and Renaissance icons, so perhaps this was just a somewhat more theatrical creation. I’m inclined to think the gown is fancy dress (the lace is rather unsubtle for Lanvin), but am not sure that it was meant to represent the era of Elizabeth I. 1920s fancy dress did have a particularly vague grasp of historical costume though!
Your task, dear readers, is to make your best guess as to what this gown was supposed to be, and to rate in on its aesthetics.
I’d recommend judging it on its merits from a period perspective. Modern fancy dress is supposed to be witty and clever, but obvious. From a 1920s perspective, historical fancy dress was meant to be “picturesque” and “quaint”, and even if we can’t guess the intended theme, in-period it may have been obvious.
The dress, whatever its theme, employs a classic Lanvin motif. The same motif, a stylised crucifix that was one of the many religious symbols Lanvin utilised in her garments, appeared as early as 1922 on a white chiffon robe de style, was featured on a Lanvin advertisement from 1925, and continued to be used on Lanvin creations into the 1940s.
What do you think of the gown? The vivid orange silk, paired with the rich gold lace, with the pearls for relief? The historical-references meet Lanvin’s extremely refined, feminine 1920s aesthetic?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10.