I was rather surprised at how many people didn’t like last week’s ivory and gold lace-embellished frock. I thought, in the general scheme of ca 1850 evening wear, it was rather fetching without being too frou-frou, and while a lot of you agreed with me (Kate said everything I might have by describing it as “Sweet and demure, but lustrous and rich, ethereal and pretty”), a lot of you also thought it was totally blah and forgettable.
So it only came in at 7.4 out of 10 – not very impressive at all.
Since I promised colour, this week’s Rate the Dress goes back a century to another lace-embellished ballgown.
Here is Arabella Astley Swimmer in a very pink frock embellished with poofs and ruffles in delicate white silk, with spangles in silver, and beads in black.
I’ve provided two version of the image: a smaller one, with slightly better quality details, and a larger version.
Arabella is shown carrying a masquerade mask, but that reflects more of the fashion in portraiture than that her dress was specifically for masquerades.
Other then the spectacular ornamentation of the petticoat, and the elaborately ruffled stomacher, the dress is pretty standard mid-18th century high-fashion formal attire, with the one other quite interesting feature being the double sleeves, with small upper puffs with dangling ruffles above the usual elbow ruffles.
What do you think? Is Arabella’s frock memorable and fabulous in the general scheme of 1750s fashion, or nothing much special?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10.