Last week’s rate the dress was an 1817 paisley-on-paisley pelisse and not-quite-poke bonnet, as depicted in a period fashion plate that was re-coloured in the 1940s. Paisley on paisley was more popular than I had presumed, though there was a pill in the pudding: the ‘perplexing purple purse’ (as Tracy dubbed it), which, as Daniel showed us by finding the original, un-re-coloured fashion plate, wasn’t intended to be violent violet!
The other thing that didn’t tickle everyone’s fancy was the plethora of ruffles, but since you’d be hard pressed to find something from the late 1810s that wasn’t abundantly frilled, that can’t be helped. All in all, the outfit came in at 8.3 out of 10, which is pretty fabulous for a not-so-popular late Regency look.
Since vivid purple didn’t work for you last week, but black might have, I’ve gone with a purple and black ensemble this week (it made sense in my mind!).
The obvious place to go looking for purple clothes was in the wardrobe of Heather Firbank, whose closet has featured on Rate the Dress at least twice before. Heather chose outfits to go with her name, as seen in this bold purple and black walking costume (‘costume’ being the term used for a multi-part outfit for dressy out-and-about wear in the early 20th century), circa 1912:
Miss Firbank’s wardrobe features garments by the top British couturiers of her era, and while Mascotte, the design house of society woman Mrs Cecil Drummond is not as well known as its contemporary, Lucile, a suit or dress by Mascotte would have been a status garment.
This ensemble is typical of Mascotte’s styles of the 1910s, with a clean, streamlined, almost austere silhouette, ornamented with flat trimming and the lavish use of buttons as design elements.
The skirt of the ensemble features buttons which are hidden when the jacket is worn, indicating that the skirt would also be worn with a blouse for indoors wear – even society women could be practical!
The V&A have kindly paired it with a blouse for us, though I feel the style of blouse is about 4-5 years out of date for the costume – the very full just-below-the-elbow length sleeves are very typical of 1907.
Also very kindly, and less controversially, they have provided excellent close-ups of the geometric trim:
And great views of the costume from all angles:
And if you click through the link, there are even interior and construction images!
But we are concerned not with construction, but with aesthetic. What do you make of this outfit, and its bold colour scheme? Do you like the choice of blouse, or would you go with something else? And what sort of hat would you pair it with? (I do think it would look rather smashing with this one, in black and white, which it may very well have been worn with)