Last week I showed you a 1920s frock embroidered with poppies, cornflowers & wheat. You almost universally agreed that my choice of hat improved the dress, mostly liked the embroidery, mostly liked the scallops, weren’t sure about the colour of the silk, and universally disliked the waist seam which interrupted the flow of embroidery. So the ensemble received an 8 out of 10. Pretty good, not fabulous.
The dress did elicit much discussion over whether the poppies were a commentary on the recent war. While I’d like the idea to be true, I suspect it’s too much of a modern take on it. I have never found any period sources that suggest that wearing poppies was anything more than a fashion statement except on Poppy Day, any more than roses were a link to Alexandra Rose Day (which was also commemorated in NZ and other colonies in the 1920s), and I have found period sources that suggest it had nothing at all do do with commemoration, and was simply a fashion, so I’m not convinced.
Even though NZ is being hit by an unprecedented heat-wave at the moment, and even though I grew up in Hawaii, I can’t help but feeling that Christmas ought to be cold (of course, since I’m from Hawaii, cold means anything under 18 celcius (65 fahrenheit)). In keeping with my ideals of a cold Christmas, this week’s Rate the Dress is an alpaca wool frock with seasonally-appropriate red velvet trimmings and tassels:
The overall silhouette of this dress is quite typical of the late 1860s (i.e. boring), but the striking red velvet trim at hem, waist, shoulders and cuffs, with matching buttons, gives it a point of interest.
I’m certain that the tassels on the bodice trimming and sash matched the red velvet when the dress was new, and that they have since faded to their odd lilac tone. Please humour me and rate them as they must have been, not as they are.
The skirt achieves its fullness through gored panels, pleating at the sides, and fan pleating at the back, all adding to the fashionable elliptical shape.
What do you think? Does this dress have the fashion award for daytime festivities circa winter 1868 all wrapped up, or is gift wrap + militaria a bad fashion mix?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10