For last week’s Rate the Dress I presented an extremely sweet and feminine late 1870s frock, as painted by Jules James Rougeron. Some of you were uncomfortable with the way the paintings subject was presented as a purely ornamental object to be admired and inspected, rather than as a person, and some of you were uncomfortable with how long the skirts were, and the effort it would take to drag them around, but mostly you really quite loved it. Not entirely though – there was something a bit off, like a dessert that is just sugar, with no flavour to balance the sweet, which, like the weight of the hem, dragged the dresses rating down to a nice but not amazing 8.4 out of 10.
This ensemble from the FIDM is just as fashionable for its period as last week’s frock, but quite different in mood. The colour scheme has changed from sweet pastels to bold red and black. The bustle has reduced, but the sleeves have ballooned into the extreme gigot shape seen in the middle of the decade.
The striped detailing on the enormous sleeves showcases the interesting grainlines of such sleeves, with the stripes running horizontally across the fullest widths, and wrapping around the slim lower arms in biased lines.
The striped sleeves are echoed in the lines around the pleated hem detailing, and in the narrow trim on the net collar which floats over the full bodice, working with the full sleeves and skirt to emphasise the narrowness of the waist.
This outfit is slightly more practical than last weeks, with a hemline that grazes the ground rather than trailing on it, but it is equally an outfit meant to catch the attention of anyone who looked at it, and to be remembered as an outfit, not just a frame for the wearer.
What do you think? It’s certainly not subtle, but for a time when a woman wants her clothes to do the talking for her, do you think it says the right things? Is it bold and striking in all the right ways? Or harsh and garish and blunt?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10