All posts filed under: Rate the dress

Rate the dress: Red bow redux

Last week we took a break from Rate the Dress to take a look at suffragist fashion in New Zealand. The last Rate the Dress was an embroidered 1880s dress which received two main reactions: love, because it looked like a film costume in all the right ways, and ‘nice, but somehow not exciting’.  Still, it came in at 8.6 out of 10, so the fans were in the majority! I posted an 1880s House of Worth dress in pale stone with red bows 7 weeks ago, and it didn’t do particularly well.  So I was fascinated when I found this 1880s dress from the MFA Boston with the same general design scheme: It’s so similar, but in cotton rather than heavy silk, with soft ruffles and scallops rather than crisp pleats, and as a day dress rather than a reception gown, the overall effect is quite different. Is it different enough to get a significantly improved (or reduced!) rating?  Would you like it more or less if I hadn’t pointed out the similarities to …

Rate the Dress: An early 1880s garland of autumnal flowers

Sorry that posts have been a bit delayed and spotty.  We’re having internet connectivity issues, and the internet suppliers in NZ leave a bit to be desired in terms of customer service (why does it take them 5-7 business days to deliver a new modem, when I can have a zip or a load of manure delivered the next day, even on a Saturday?!?). Angela Burdett-Coutts, 1st Baroness Coutts, received generally rave reviews last week, with nothing below a 7, and over half of her ratings a perfect 10, with the general consensus being that her dress suited her personality perfectly, and was striking without detracting from her face.  9.3 out of 10, because while it suited the person to a T, it wasn’t a showstopper. This week, a black (yes, it is black, not navy) silk reception gown decorated with a garland of embroidery in shades of maroon and amethyst, with cream flowers: What do you think? Is the textural mix of slick satin and fluffy chenille working?  What about the muted reds on …

Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts, Baroness Burdett-Coutts, ca. 1840, NPG, detail

Rate the Dress: the Philanthropist in Plaid

Last week’s peach-on-peach 1914 evening dress earned its rating almost entirely on how much you liked said shade.  If it was too much overtones of 1980s bridesmaids dresses – not so much!  I was highly entertained by the wildly varying opinions and some of the descriptions (peach flavoured onion!).  Alas, for something so entertaining, it came in with a rather nondescript rating of 7.3 out of 10.  The lowest in a long while, but far higher than some of the lowest scores. This week let us turn from soft peachy pink, to crisp black and white, as we look at philanthropist, heiress, art collector, honourary beekeeper and goat aficionado, Angela Burdett-Coutts, 1st Baroness Coutts. Angela’s life is remarkable; from inheriting one of the largest fortunes in England (though I’ve always wondered how her four older sisters felt about being left out of it); to using it for a huge range of Very Good Things (many quite unusual and advanced for a lady of her era); to proposing to the  45-years-her-senior Duke of Wellington, fending off …