Last week I showed you a red velvet and gold lace and peacock feathers dress, ca 1900. Ca 1900, red velvet, gold lace, and peacock feather embroidery are all generally considered to be good things when it comes to Rate the Dress, so, not surprisingly, many of you approved of the dress, even if it did come with a side order of wonky bow, awkward bust embellishment, embroidery wrinkles, potential itch factor, and overly puffy sleeves. In fact, despite all these things, the power of red and gold propelled the dress to an 8 out of 10.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art calls this summery bustled evening dress a ‘Polonaise’ gown, reflecting the 1870s interest in the 18th century, and the revival of 18th century dress terms.
The name may be 18th century inspired, and there may be the barest nod at the idea of a Georgian fichu in the guimpe/dickey which gives the dress the option of moving between different types of evening events, but the overall look is classic 1870s.
There are the tiers of ruffles, both on the underskirt, and mirroring the curve of the apron overskirt, and trimming the ‘polonaised’ bustle back. The same themes are repeated on the bodice, with puffed sleeves, flat ruffling on the higher guimpe, which made the dress less formal and more modest, for dinner events, and a row of contrast satin pleating and ruffles framing the lower neckline, for balls and more formal events.
The detailing and embellishment on 1870s and 1880s gowns came make them appear quite stiff and contrived, but this summer evening dress is made of light, airy cotton, with wool brocaded patterning.
Does the lightweight fabric balance the heavy embellishment? Is the dress a success?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10