Last week’s crazy floral border print 1860s Rate the Dress certainly evoked a range of responses, and some interesting speculation on how much the ensemble had been altered, and when. One thing you could almost all agree on was that the bodice was a bit blocky and awkward, but other than that there was no consensus. Some of you LOVED the skirt fabric so much the bodice didn’t matter, some of you hated the fabric full stop, and some of you thought the fabric was amazing, but that it couldn’t make up for the terrible bodice. All in all, the dress came in at a very disappointing 6.3 out of 10, showing that fashion has to be a bit more restrained and a bit better made to get the nod from more of you voters.
This week I present a dress with two sets of images: one, carefully presented and perfectly steamed and arranged into shape, and another, an excellent set of reference images, clearer and brighter, but lacking the elegant crispness of the first. It’s an excellent opportunity to see a dress prettily staged, in a way few institutions have the resources to achieve, and in the raw, with all the ravages of time visible.
This Lanvin dress, shown first in perfect presentation, is characteristic of her very soft, whimsical, feminine style, and her interest in history.
While the overall silhouette, raised waistline and asymmetrically wrapped skirt of this evening dress are typical of the 1910s, Lanvin took her inspiration from the fashions of the second half of the 18th century for the details of the garment. The black tulle peeking from the sleeves is reminiscent of engageantes, and the layers of the draped surplice bodice evoke a fichu. The puffed overskirt is a reference to the poofs and drapes of a bustle over-skirt.
What do you think? The first image gives a better picture of how the dress would have looked when first worn, the second may help explain the details. It’s certainly a quirky frock, but does quirk have it’s own charm, and is this a case when it keeps fashion history interesting and unique?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10