All posts tagged: 1860s

Rate the Dress: Lightning bolts, fringe, bobbles, straw, and miles of mauveine

What an interesting conversation we had about Heather Firbank’s extremely purple walking costume from last week!  And what interesting ratings!  Basically, everyone who didn’t like things disliked the bits that I particularly liked.  The symmetrical/asymmetrical contrast (so weird to modern eyes, but so typical of the era) came in for particular criticism, as did the ‘mean little buckles’ (which I thought were such a neat, severe, ultra-modern touch!). One thing that I thoroughly expected everyone to criticise the ensemble for (and which certainly annoyed me every time I looked at it) was the non-matching of the ribbon trim at the corners of the jacket.  Oddly, it received only one mention! And that’s the fabulous thing about Rate the Dress: all these different opinions, each of us looking at the same thing, and drawing on different experiences and associations for our likes and dislikes, all rounding out to a random-but-not score, which in last week’s case, was 8.6 out of 10. I did not intend to pick another extremely purple ensemble this week.  And then I ran …

Rate the Dress: an interesting take on late 1860s

Guess who forgot to do Rate the Dress last night?  Yep, me.  In my defence, it was a public holiday in Wellington, and my brain got stuck on Sunday mode. So, a few hours late, but here you go! The overall consensus on Vionnet’s green harlequin dress was that it, like everything Vionnet made, was practically perfect in every way.  It got very hard to keep track of the ratings, there were so many 10s in a row!  The neckline treatment, and alternating grainlines, came in for particular praise.  But a few of you couldn’t get Robin Hood out of your brain, and others assumed it was as simple as it looks (!), pulling the rating down to an exceptional, but not quite perfect, 9.2 out of 10. As a follow up to Vionnet’s diamonds and simplicity, this weeks Rate the Dress is an elaborate late 1860s confection featuring as at least as many half-oval scallops as Vionnet’s dress featured diamonds. The dress silhouette shows the transition from the late 1860s full elliptical crinoline, to …

Rate the Dress: Trompe L’oeil Summer Whites, ca 1866

Last week there were Arguments Over an Apron.  Did it’s fabulousness make the ensemble?  Or was it fabulous, but didn’t actually fit with the rest of the outfit?  Or, in its flimsiness, was it an insult to people who actually had to wear aprons to keep from really soiling their clothes?  If you were the first, you gave it an average of 9.5 out of 10, the second or the third, only a 7.  But the first far outweighted the second, bringing out lady in green and gold, complete with embroidered apron, in at a fabulous 9 out of 10. It’s actually, finally, getting properly warm down here in NZ, and I am looking forward to summer frocks.  This week’s Rate the Dress pick celebrates the warmer weather: This two piece ensemble is classic mid 1860s, and uses the typical flat braid or embroidery embellishment of the period in a particularly interesting way: to create two layers of trompe l’oeil overskirt, completed with turned back revers. What do you think?  Do you like the crisp black …