All posts tagged: 1880s

Rate the Dress: Mid-1880s ochre and gold

Last week’s 1850s homage to the 18th century attracted a few ardent admirers, a few vehement naysayers, and a lot of people who thought it was soooooo close to great….but not there (mostly because of the blue-green trim).  So it balanced out at 7.8 out of 10, which isn’t bad for a dress trying to carry SO many colours and design ideas. I found I loved the dress if I just looked at it, but the minute I tried to inspect and analyse I found dozens of things I thought were awful.  I suspect that if I saw it at a party I still would have gone away remembering it as fabulous and lovely, because the overall impression of delight would outbalance all the little niggles. Since last week’s dress was so very, very sweet, I felt that we need a palette cleanser: something entirely free of florals and frills and pastels. I’d already settled on this ensemble when I realised the base colour was actually quite similar to that of last weeks dress.  Despite this, …

Rate the Dress: An Empress in Tiers, 1886

The rate the dress of 7 days ago was a vivid green 1910s number, with black lace over-tunic, paired with a belt that, as it turns out, didn’t necessarily belong to the dress, and inexplicable modern necklace.  Whether you liked it or not hinged on how you felt about the colour (deliciously vivid vs. gaudy), and your attitude towards the white neckline filler (refreshing vs. abrupt).  Despite a few people who really weren’t fond of the colour or silhouette (or very obvious hem), it came in at a quite pleasing 8.2 out of 10.  Very nice! This week, we’re going from bold green to soft pastels paired with dark neutrals, but keeping with the theme of lace overlays, albeit in a very different mood. This mid-1880s dress with unusual asymmetrically tiered skirt comes from the wardrobe of the Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia (aka Dagmar of Denmark, aka Princess Alexandra’s little sister).  You’ve rated Maria Feodorovna here on Rate the Dress before, and this dress seems in keeping with her taste as demonstrated in other paintings and …

Rate the Dress: a paisley tea gown

Last week’s rate the dress was a probably-by Callot Soeurs gown in what-do-we-call-this-bronze-blush-champagne with intricate embroidery.  A few people weren’t so enthusiastic, but most of you loved the dress – so much so it’s going to get a bit polygamous, because a number of us are in line to marry it.  (me too!).  The final rating was 9.3 out of 10. I’m currently obsessing over paisley, because I’m giving a talk on Paisley at CoCo, so this week’s Rate the Dress is on-theme.  In fact, it manages to combine paisley with another one of my obsessions: tea gowns. This tea gown is an example of a mid-century paisley shawl which has been re-made into a fitted garment.  This practice was very common from the late 1870s onwards, as shawls fell out of fashion as bustles came in, but the actual shawl fabric was still valued. Though paisley shawls of the 1860s were ENORMOUS, they still don’t contain enough fabric to make a full trained tea gown, so the dressmaker has combined the wool shawl with …