Last week I showed you a full-steam-ahead 1870s dress, crammed with all the tassels, pleats, lacing and trimming it could possibly hold: right up to the parasol pocket. I guessed correctly that a lot of you would go totally gaga over it, and there was an impressive swathe of 10s. But a surprising amount of you held back and couldn’t quite commit to a full score, and so there were an equal number of 8 & 9s, and just a few who weren’t quite convinced, bringing the dress in at a still-impressive 9.2 out of 10.
Personally, I’m in the minority in feeling that there is something not quite resolved about that dress: a bit of imbalance in the colour arrangement that kept my eye stuck on one spot, and when I really pulled back and tried to look at the whole there were all these little tiny things that just niggled at me (and, like Cathy, I couldn’t dismiss the sneaking suspicion I would hate the front). It’s like a movie where the actors are so good and the characters so appealing that you love it when you see it, and only later do you realise that there were massive plot holes all over the place. I HATE that! It’s almost worse than a bad movie, because the letdown when you figure out the plot holes is even harder because you liked the characters…
But I digress!
Let’s stick with the theme of over-the-top embellishments this week, but move from the 1870s to the 1820s, and from tasselled fringing to three-dimensional puffs.
This evening dress is in classic Regency white, with visual interest created through the use of whitework embroidery and gauzy three-dimensional daisies formed from puffs of delicate fabric.
The daisies are arranged in rows at the hem of the skirt, and smaller versions decorate the bodice and small puffed sleeves.
The daisy and embroidery decorations completely cover the detachable long sleeves of the dress, which made it suitable for a wider variety of occasions and weather. Sadly, only one of the long sleeves has survived, so we’ll just have to imagine what the dress looked like with both.
The all white of the dress is a taken from the classical Greek & Roman inspired fashions of the earlier Regency, but the puffed sleeve decorations give the dress the slightest nod to the Renaissance, another popular source for dress designs in the 1810s-30s.
What do you think? You’ve been pretty lukewarm on all-white Regency frocks in the past, but does the superlative decorations on this one lift it out of the ordinary? And does the pale palette and delicate ornamentation keep it from being too heavy and fussy: the frequent criticism levelled against the 1820s. Or are the daisy chains just ridiculously twee?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10.