Thanks for your well wishes on lasts week’s Rate the Dress. My posts are going to be written with help for at least another week I’m afraid…
Quite mixed feelings on last week’s 1906ish corded velvet ensemble. Some of you thought it rich and regal, some of you thought it irredeemably ugly, and some of you liked it, except for a) the mismatched lace and/or b) the fabric and/or c) the clunky sleeves. Lots of things to detract from perfection pulled the score down to 6.6 out of 10.
I personally loved the fabric and would take a chair upholstered in it any day of the week, but do struggle with 1906 sleeves. They just make me think of an ape posturing to make itself look as big as possible in the chest and shoulders…
This week’s Rate the Dress, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is also purple and black. The dress, one of the extremely fashionable new purple shades made possible by the discovery of aniline dyes, features the simple shape and enormous swathes of fabric typical of the mid 1860s, with visual interest achieved through applied ornamentation: in this case an ‘apron’ effect on the skirt, and trimming on the bodice and mancheron sleeves that enhance the illusion of a tiny waist and full rounded bust.
The lace and bead trim anticipates the late-Victorian fashion for layered and trims in jet, lace, and other materials, but its placement is pure 1860s.
The lace is almost certainly machine made – reflecting all the improvements in machine lace technology since the invention of the bobbinet machine in 1810.
What do you think? The early-mid 1860s silhouette doesn’t always make for very exciting fashion. Does this take on the style of its era, with all the new trends, and some unusual twists on trimming, do enough to set it apart as interesting, and more importantly, elegant and aesthetically admirable?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10.