All posts tagged: 1870s

Rate the Dress: Jules James Rougeron adds the finishing touches, 1877

Oh dearie me!  Last week I showed you a wedding dress in deep, rich aubergine, with a very assymetrical skirt that was dubbed: sloppy, saggy, limp, crushed, and like ‘stockings that got one leg twisted when you put them on’.  Poor bride!  Poor dress, and a very sad 5.5 out of 10. Some the criticism of the aubergine dress was of how limp and crumpled it looked, which is partly a product of time: you may have liked it a lot better had you seen it worn in the mid 1880s.  For this week’s Rate the Dress we’re going back just a couple of years and looking at a dress that is as fresh and crisp today as it was in 1877 – because it’s a painting. Jules James Rougeron (1841-1880) painted sweet, romantic genre scenes that met the popular taste for undemanding works that featured pretty women in pretty frocks. His works appealed to the same audience as his contemporary, Tissot, though Rougeron was, and is, less famous. In “Toilette” Rougeron depicts a fashionably dressed woman admiring …

Rate the Dress: Summer Whites of the 1870s

Huzzah!  We have a winner!  Last week I showed a court dress in black satin with gold embroidery, and, with only 4 out of 30 votes coming in at anything but a perfect 10, the dress scored a truly spectacular 9.8 out of 10, which is pretty much as close as I think we’ll ever get to a perfect 10!  (such a change from Charles of the week before, who actually did better than I thought – 6.3 out of 10, for “Fantastic outfit, wrong wearer” as HoiLei succinctly put it.) This dress is inspired by the recent weather: it has been HOT.  Not too bad in Wellington, but I spent the weekend in Hamilton and it was 30 degrees and 60% humidity, and I had models in period dress, and there was a lot of discussion about how you handled that kind of heat historically. Here is one example of how: Superficially this dress is the complete opposite of last weeks: light cotton instead of heavy silk, white instead of black, an overall impression of lightness …

Rate the Dress: Tassels, pleats, and pockets on an 1870s bustle

Last week I showed you an 18th century menswear ensemble, just making the transition from Rococo peacock to Regency Beau.  Reactions to the ensemble were quite mixed: you though the colours were the perfect balance of interest/hated them and thought them boring, adored the mix of pattern coordinating without matching/thought it clashed terrible, loved the slightly wacky hat and big buttons for the pop they gave the outfit/found the hat and buttons utterly awful and cartoonish.  Still, most of you really liked it (I think it’s just SO MUCH BETTER than most modern menswear (though we’re getting better) that it’s hard not to at least like it somewhat, so it came in at 7.8 out of 10. This week we’re going from slightly wacky menswear, to slightly wacky womenswear – with a little menswear inspiration. This mid-1870s bustle dress has a hint of militaria and menswear tailoring in the bodice, combined with the 1870s bustle silhouette at the height of excess trimmings.  The dress features not only a fascinating bit of centre back trim, elaborate jacket pleats, heavily …