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Rate the Dress: Bright Pink ‘Teens Velvet

Last week’s Rate the Dress was very subdued and subtle and restful.  This week I’m going in exactly the opposite direction, and featuring a vivid pink 19teens dress with lots of zing.

Last week: A 1920s artistic ensemble

A few of you loved it for looking supremely comfortable and wearable, and most of you could appreciate the elegance of the embellishment, but many of you were not quite convinced by the colour, or all the details – especially the cuffs.

The Total: 7.7 out of 10

And a huge thank you to Daniel for adding a bunch of extra historical information and context about the outfit!

This week:

I wanted something bright and fun as a contrast to last week, and you can’t get much brighter and more fun than hot pink velvet:

Gown in silk velvet by Robert, Paris, 1910-1914, sold by Augusta Auctions April 20, 2016

Gown in silk velvet by Robert, Paris, France, 1910-1914, sold by Augusta Auctions April 20, 2016

Augusta Auctions gave a date range of 1910-14 when they sold this pink velvet confection, but the draped hobble skirt is so absolutely typical of 1913-14 that I feel confident dating it to those years.

Gown in silk velvet by Robert, Paris, 1910-1914, sold by Augusta Auctions April 20, 2016

The horizontal seam across the hips, while unusual to modern eyes, allows the draping of the skirt, and causes interesting visual contrasts as the grain of the velvet changes, creating the effect of different shades of pink.

The seam also widens the hips – emphasising the still fashionably small waist, and moving away from the extremely narrowed hips of the earlier 1910s.

Gown in silk velvet by Robert, Paris, 1910-1914, sold by Augusta Auctions April 20, 2016

Gown in silk velvet by Robert, Paris, 1910-1914, sold by Augusta Auctions April 20, 2016

The pink appears particularly vivid against the muted tones of the metal lace and silk chiffon sleeves, but the contrast was originally probably much less stark: the lace, un-tarnished, a brighter gold or silver, the chiffon either a brighter white, or purposefully subdued to create the illusion of bare skin.  Tying together all this boldness, the sparkle of diamantes, anchoring the neckline, and shimmering as the arms moved.

Gown in silk velvet by Robert, Paris, 1910-1914, sold by Augusta Auctions April 20, 2016

Gown in silk velvet by Robert, Paris, 1910-1914, sold by Augusta Auctions April 20, 2016

Obviously the flowers on the corsage have aged someone, and aren’t quite blooming as intended, so please don’t judge the effects of age too harshly.

What do you think?  Is this rosy hued 19teens frock delicious or déclassé?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

A reminder about rating – feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment.  Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting. However it’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste.

(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!)


  1. Baa says

    I’m sure this was hi fashion back in the day & is really quite lovely although bit faded and worn now ( I know I’m a bit faded & worn having aged past that first sparkling young bloom
    of youth). I can picture a young girl on the verge of womanhood looking quite daring yet still a little demure in this. 7/10

  2. I do like the combination of velvet and draping, and even though the pink is not a shade I would use myself, for the right complexion/hair color it would be delightful.

    However, I do not like the combination of the velvet and the lace/chiffon/whatever. To me they look unrelated. If the bodice/sleeve combo were sheer but in the same color range as the velvet I would find it more pleasing.

    7 of 10

  3. TracyRagland says

    I love the silhouette but not the dress so much. I find the texture of the velvet to overwhelm the lace and chiffon of the bodice. Individually, each fabric is lovely, but color and texture contrast makes it jarring to my eyes.


  4. Lindsay says

    I would wear this every day of the week – the colour is marvelous and the shimmering from the sleeves and neckline would have been pure magic. Absolute 10/10. It is darling.

  5. Daniel Milford-Cottam says

    I rather love it. Its so much of its period and that pink is so joyously rosy and vibrant that it’s difficult not to feel happy. And I love the draping and the textures and rosy velvet is just happy making. I do have to dock a point for the lack of a waist treatment or sash, as the hip yoke jumps out a bit and looks a bit unrelieved in between the drapery and the activity up on the bodice, so, 8.5/10

  6. april pressley says

    I love it. I mean, I’d hate to be trying to actually go anywhere in a hobble skirt, but it looks just fab. just one point off for how very hard it would be to flee a burning ballroom.

  7. Linda Mae says

    I would like this much better in a black and white photo. The draping effects are awesome, product of a very skilled designer and seamstress. the placement of the bling is also interesting. But it is more of a sculpture than a functioning gown. Overall effect (ignoring to colors) = 8

  8. Nicole B. says

    How I wish we could see this gown as it appeared when new! I’m trying to ignore the tarnishing of the lace and drooping of the blossoms and picture it as a fresh rosebud in June. It seems to me that the drape and gather of the skirt would really lengthen the legs, and I love the lines of the sparkling trim on the shoulders and sleeves. Also, the train!
    The velvet is, unfortunately, exactly the color I would like my steak cooked. Not that I can hold that against the dress.
    I can’t really figure out what’s holding me back on this dress, except that there have been others I liked better.

  9. It’s hard for me to imagine it with the lace fresh and new but I’m certain it *was* so, and as such would have been devastatingly beautiful. Silvery (even gold!) lace sleeves with the elegant pink, sculptural draping at the bottom would have been most striking. I’d never wear it (I favor big strides, and would probably have fallen all over the place or torn the dress), but it’s a wonder anyway.

    One-half minus point for the floral bunch in the center of the torso. Yes, some kind of ornament was needed there, but a gigantic rose was not it.

    9.5 out of 10.

  10. Sigh. The only nice thing I can find to say is that the velvet is a lovely color. Probably because I am ignorant of what high fashion was in its day and I’m judging by my own preferences. 3 points for the lovely color and two points because I am probably too uninformed to properly appreciate it…5/10

  11. Joni says

    Oof. It’s bright and bold, but for me it doesn’t work at all. I don’t like the mix of textures; the velvet is too heavy for the chiffon and lace, and the pink is too bright – even if the chiffon and lace were brighter. The seam across the hips looks dragged down, like she stuffed the contents of her purse into her pockets. And the waist looks a bit unfinished, especially the back.


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