Welcome to Rate the Dress! This week we go from chintz to casaquin (and I know that’s kind of comparing apples and asparagus…)
Last week: 1890s theatrical sweetness
Last week we looked at a sweet florals and ruffles 1890s dress which may have been a fashion garment, or a theatre costume. You almost unanimously liked the fabric. You were less sure about the rest. And there was something about the outfit that just wasn’t quite one thing or another – there were SO MANY #.5 ratings!
The Total: 7.9 out of 10.
Better than I expected actually! I guess the gorgeous fabric did the trick!
This week: 1720s-40s theatrically-embroidered casaquin
This week we turn from an ostensibly normal dress which may actually have been a theatre costume, to an unusual high-fashion outfit with theatrical inspiration.
This early-mid 18th century outfit features a loose jacket (casaquin) and petticoat of ivory linen, both lavishly embellished with polychrome wool embroidery.
Despite the working class inspiration, relatively humble linen base and wool (rather than the more common, and more obviously luxe, silk) embroidery, this is definitely a high-status garment. The standard of workmanship is excellent. The white linen would have taken work to keep clean, and the brilliant embroidery involved expensive dyes. More obviously, the garment is a walking advertisement of worldliness.
Not only is the embroidery an obvious example of chinoiserie, the dancing jester figures, which represent the Four Continents (the world was simpler in 1725) show the influence of designers such as Jean Bérain who created costumes for royal fetes and theatricals.
In one garment the wearer is able to demonstrate their familiarity with exotic design, geography, and the latest artistic trend. At the same time, they are on the cutting edge of fashion: blending luxury and faux-casual comfort drawn from working attire.
What do you think? Is it all a little too gauche and hip? A middle-aged teacher trying to use all the hottest slang? Or the perfect encapsulation of all that was fashionable and relevant?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10
(as usual, nothing more complicated than a .5. I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment, so I can find it! Thanks in advance!)