Rate the Dress: A Lady of Fashion, 1914

Last week I showed you an 1890s Worth dress, to mixed reviews.  Some of you saw Worth, and looked no further, some thought it was quite an off day.  But you’ll have to wait for an add up, as I need to finish a dress, a swimsuit, and a jacket in the next three days!

It’s all go with Katherine Mansfield fashions this week, and I was almost too busy to do a Rate the Dress.

So here is a quick Mansfield inspired one: something 1910s and avant garde, and (as she always overran her clothing allowance), probably quite pricey:

Costume de serge fine garni de petits boutons de corail, plate 157 from Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1914

Costume de serge fine garni de petits boutons de corail, plate 157 from Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1914

What do you think of the hobble-skirt and the layered jacket?  The touch of cobalt in the hat?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

Watteau in Paradise

A couple of years ago I got a facebook message from the lovely Sadie.  She’d found a 1960s Hawaiian dress at an op shop.  Would I like it?  Oh sure, the 1960s did lots of Hawaiian stuff – it might be fun.

Nope, turns out, it’s actually Hawaiian!  As in, the fabric is by a Hawaiian fabric company (who knew?  There were, and are, still fabric companies in Hawaii!), and the dress is made from a Patterns Pasifica (a short lived 1960s-70s Hawaiian pattern company) design.

Watteau in Paradise 1960s dress thedreamstress.com

Sadly, the dress is not from a Patterns Pacifica pattern that I own (my Mum bought me half a dozen when I was a teenager, and I’m gutted that I didn’t take better care of them), but it’s from that I’ve wanted to own for ages, because it’s very 18th century inspired, with those 1960s Watteau pleats.

Patterns Pacifica thedreamstress.com

So obviously I was VERY excited about the dress!

Watteau in Paradise 1960s dress thedreamstress.com

And it fits me!  (more or less.  It would help if I was 4 inches shorter and half a size smaller – as it was, I had to let out the hem as much as it would possibly go, and add a bias hem facing).

Watteau in Paradise 1960s dress thedreamstress.com

Unfortunately there aren’t very many opportunities to wear a mad Hawaiian evening gown in Wellington, but I was SO in love with the dress that when I was heading home to Hawaii in 2012 I convinced my parents that the theme of their 30th wedding anniversary should be ‘1960s Tiki Lounge’, complete with mocktails and pineapple hedgehog hors d’oeuvres, so I could wear the dress to that.

I’d show you pictures of the event but my little sister will kill me if any of the photos of her in a bright blue and orange micro-mini muumuu go public.

When we planned our Vanuatu holiday I was determined that I’d finally get proper photos.

Vanuatu was the perfect place to wear it and take pictures: I was definitely the most glamorous guest at the resort, and the staff loved it that I dressed for dinner.

It’s a bit sad that so few people do dress up.  Most people were going to dinner in tank tops and ripped shorts, despite the spectacular setting with formal candlelit dining right on the beach.  And since it was so hot, you wanted to change outfits three times a day anyway, so why not put on something a little fabulous?

Watteau in Paradise 1960s dress thedreamstress.com

The gorgeous handbag, btw, is by my sister, it’s handpainted leather and the lining has monkeys and if you ask nicely enough, you can probably buy your own from her!

Mr D did quite a good job with photos, don’t you think?

Watteau in Paradise 1960s dress thedreamstress.com

Watteau in Paradise 1960s dress thedreamstress.com

Watteau in Paradise 1960s dress thedreamstress.com

Watteau in Paradise 1960s dress thedreamstress.com

I only have one regret about the photos.  After we’d taken a lot and I’d declared that we were done, we walked back to our fare, and I noticed the light and snapped this photo of Mr D as a test:

Watteau in Paradise 1960s dress thedreamstress.com

 

Obviously it was VERY exciting, and we needed to take more of me down that path!

Nope.  Mr D threw a grumpy and said I’d said we were done, so we were DONE and refused to get any more.  Bah humbug.  What a poohead.

Watteau in Paradise 1960s dress thedreamstress.com

What a girl should wear, ca. 1907

I’ve been digging around in my stash of pages from the Girl’s Own Magazine, and came across these glorious evening gowns:

IMG_4452

 

Aren’t the butterfly gathers across the bust of dark one just delicious?  And the decorative band on the light one, ducking in and out behind the bodice and sleeves?  And those droop puffed sleeves!  Fabulous!

I’m not sure about the merits of having a big circle on your chest though!

And just so you can read the fabulously hilarious write-up (“nothing flops this years but our sleeves”), here is the whole page in large size.

Evening gowns featured in the Girls Own Magazine thedreamstress.com

 

I’m 90% sure this is from sometime between Aug-December 1907.  Unfortunately my Girl’s Own Magazine pages from 1905-7 are an incomplete set of loose pages.  I’ve put them in the best order I can, but some I just have to guess at.

 

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Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional. Leimomi is available for educational and entertaining presentations, textile and fashion advice, special commissions and events. Click to learn more

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