All posts filed under: Rate the dress

Evening dress, London, 1912, Lucile (1863 - 1935), Silk, embroidered & appliqued metal thread, glass beads, sequins (gelatin?), metal hooks & eyes, silk net, ©Victoria & Albert Museum T.35-1960

Rate the Dress: Purple personalities

After our discussions about makers & wearers with the last few dresses, I thought it might be interesting to see a dress where we know the wearer, and the designer, as well as a great deal about the actual makers of the dress. Last Week: an 1880s velvet and satin frock The brown velvet and satin dress was a smash hit, with a well-deserved round of applause for the maker. It lost a point here and there because of the bustle or the colour (and a couple of points for something that I think was a misunderstanding in construction 🙁 ), but overall you deemed it practically perfect in every way. The Total: 9.7 out of 10 Fully three-quarters of the ratings for last week’s dress were perfect 10s! This week: a 1912 evening dress by Lucile I thought we needed a pop of colour after a few weeks of predominantly dark or white dresses, and this Lucile gown fit the bill perfectly, while also being a great example of a gown where the designer, …

Carriage dress, 1885 The Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University

Rate the Dress: this dress ain’t made for walking

It’s interesting how much certain silhouettes and colour schemes evoke certain associations. Last week’s dress was one a style that always makes me think of Winterhalter paintings, and also the antebellum South. Many of you had the same reaction. The latter association always makes looking at this style of dress fraught: we can’t help but be reminded of the amount of human suffering that supported a lifestyle that allowed such garments. For me as a fashion historian it’s important to remember that, while it’s not always as obvious, almost all extravagant fashions (including those today) are built on exploitation. Most of the garments I’ve featured in Rate the Dress depended on seamstresses, and the occasional tailor, working long hours for poor or no pay. Behind every couturier who became rich and famous there were an army of ‘little hands’, making at best a decent wage that provided a modest living, but certainly not one that could afford the garments they laboured over. Rate the Dress is a chance to imagine a dress when worn, but …

Dress, cotton with blue silk sash and bow, French, ca. 1860, KSUM 1983.1.2071 a-h.

Rate the Dress: White dresses with blue satin sashes

I’m late again with Rate the Dress, but this time for happier reasons: I’ve been working on a couple of projects that I’m finding very fulfilling and engaging, and taking time to do things just for me. So I played Scrabble with Mr D instead of writing a blog post last week! (I won. He says using words like ‘bast’, ‘bodkin’, and ‘mercer’ is unfair and shouldn’t be allowed) Last Fortnight: late Victorian marquisette madness Some of you loved last week’s dress for its bold statement, unusual fabric, and elegant silhouette. Others liked it, but found it a bit headache inducing. And some just hated everything about it: very bold fabric and an 1890s cut aren’t generally popular here on Rate the Dress. Thank you to Daniel for all the extra information on last week’s dress: where it ended up, and the dodgy alterations. The Total: 7.5 out of 10 This is the rating that came up most often with this dress, and for once the mode was the mean. (although some of you rated …