All posts tagged: 1890s

Rate the Dress: All-Black Aestheticism

Responses to last week’s russet & cream pleats and drapes ca. 1880 Rate the Dress took me more than a little by surprise, as I thought the dress was striking, beautifully and skilfully made, and profoundly, irredeemably, ugly.   My opinion was clearly not shared by the vast majority of you   (and that’s totally OK!) – as most of you adored it, bringing it in at a rosy 8.5 out of 10!  The joy and beauty of Rate the Dress – seeing the beauty of a garment you think is terrible through someone else’s eyes and perspective, and vice versa! This week, to avoid any clashing colours, I’ve chosen a dress in black on black, enlivened with embroidery, smocking, ruching, and delicate buttons.  This aesthetic style dress may have been for someone unconventional enough to adopt aesthetic dress, while conventional enough to adhere to mourning customs, or simply for someone who liked the colour, as black became increasingly fashionable in its own right at the end of the 19th century. This dress is a rather unusual choice for …

Rate the Dress: a belle in bows, 1898-1900

Oh dear…last week’s late 1860s Rate the Dress… OK, some of you did like it!  But it came in for some harsh criticism, and some pretty bad analogies: tongues, teeth & Daleks for starts!  And even most of you who did like it liked it in spite of itself.  Kit promised to “enter therapy and bind 40 half ovals as a penance” for her high score.  I’m kind of in the same boat.  I know it was awful, and yet, I felt it could have been really effective on the right person – if it only weren’t for the mess happening at the bottom of the bodice.  I can forgive ugly (as long as it’s effective) but I can’t forgive bad construction, so my rating would only have been a 5 – lower than your average score, which was just a tiny bit below the average of 5.9 out of 10 that it came out at. I’ve kept within the same colour scheme this week: black and ivory, with just a touch of another colour. …

Rate the Dress: 1890s Lady in Red

For last week’s Rate the Dress I presented an extremely sweet and feminine late 1870s frock, as painted by Jules James Rougeron.  Some of you were uncomfortable with the way the paintings subject was presented as a purely ornamental object to be admired and inspected, rather than as a person, and some of you were uncomfortable with how long the skirts were, and the effort it would take to drag them around, but mostly you really quite loved it.  Not entirely though – there was something a bit off, like a dessert that is just sugar, with no flavour to balance the sweet, which, like the weight of the hem, dragged the dresses rating down to a nice but not amazing 8.4 out of 10. This ensemble from the FIDM is just as fashionable for its period as last week’s frock, but quite different in mood.  The colour scheme has changed from sweet pastels to bold red and black.  The bustle has reduced, but the sleeves have ballooned into the extreme gigot shape seen in the middle of the …