What an interesting conversation we had about Heather Firbank’s extremely purple walking costume from last week! And what interesting ratings! Basically, everyone who didn’t like things disliked the bits that I particularly liked. The symmetrical/asymmetrical contrast (so weird to modern eyes, but so typical of the era) came in for particular criticism, as did the ‘mean little buckles’ (which I thought were such a neat, severe, ultra-modern touch!).
One thing that I thoroughly expected everyone to criticise the ensemble for (and which certainly annoyed me every time I looked at it) was the non-matching of the ribbon trim at the corners of the jacket. Oddly, it received only one mention!
And that’s the fabulous thing about Rate the Dress: all these different opinions, each of us looking at the same thing, and drawing on different experiences and associations for our likes and dislikes, all rounding out to a random-but-not score, which in last week’s case, was 8.6 out of 10.
I did not intend to pick another extremely purple ensemble this week. And then I ran across this:
And yes, it’s definitely extremely purple (well, mauve, to be very technically historical). But it’s so fabulously fascinating I thought you’d forgive me the repetition in colour, for providing something that was so novel and interesting in so many other ways!
Things that are fascinating about this dress in three parts (skirt, day bodice with attached overskirt effect, and evening bodice):
#1: The straw embroidery:
#2 The little straw bobble trim:
#3: The straw buttons:
#4: The fact that it’s clearly not made for a little tiny woman:
#5 The matching evening bodice (which, weirdly, does seem to be made for a much smaller woman than the day bodice, even taking in to account the style for loose sacque day bodices in the late 1860s – its almost as if the evening bodice is belted in much tighter than it should be):
#6 And the AMAZING lightning bolt zig-zag edging on the evening bodice.
I’m assuming, based on the way the sleeves meet the beaded ribbon chemise effect underlay, that the bodice is sewn to the underlay, but it certainly looks like the lightning-bolt straw embroidery of the bodice is worked completely separately to the underlay, as it is on the sleeves. Amazing!
#7: The interior view, which may not add anything to the dress aesthetically, but which is a wonderful thing to have from a historical costumers perspective.
Hopefully all those fascinating bits will make this stand out quite a bit from last weeks purple! In any case, the extreme mauve-ness of this dress varies considerably depending on the lighting of the photograph, so you’ll just have to make your best judgement of what colour it really is/was, and how much you like it!
So, what do you think? Is it a marvel of mauve or a mauve monstrosity? Has this dress managed to turn straw into ratings gold? Can lightning strike 10?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10