All posts tagged: 18th century

Rate the Dress: early 18th century Riding Habit stripes

Update: house tidied, votes tallied, and last weeks chrysanthemum and swags dress came in at 6.8 out of 10, loosing a point for awkward transitions, and lots of points for looking like eyeballs (a resemblance that I can’t see no matter what size I look at the image from, and how much I squint!) I’ll be coming back tomorrow morning to tally the votes for last weeks Japonisme-inspired ensemble, but I’m afraid I was too busy tonight getting the house ready for guests (why do you always get a spectacularly good evening when you have to vacuum the whole house instead of getting to go for a walk in the actually-balmy weather!).  For now, here is this week’s Rate the Dress for your delectation. Twenty-year old Henrietta Cavendish Holles, Countess of Oxford and heiress to one of the largest fortunes in England, is depicted in a suitably luxurious and decadent riding habit the year after her marriage to Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford. Portraits in riding dress were all the rage in early 18th century …

Rate the Dress: a dress fit for a duchess?

You didn’t quite warm up to last week’s blonde silk Lanvin frock, declaring it underdeveloped in design an execution, and it came in at a paltry 5.9 out of 10 – quite poor for Lanvin! Since not-quite-yellow designer wasn’t your thing, this week I present a properly yellow frock, purportedly from the wardrobe of a duchess. This robe a la francaise of brocaded silk is came from the wardrobe of ‘Lydia Catharine, Duchess of Chandos (m. 1736)’, the third wife of James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos. The gown shows evidence of re-styling common in mid-18th c gowns, as fabric was so valuable that even the wealthiest women often had their frocks re-made to match the current fashions. Lydia died in 1750, so the re-style would have been done by the next owner of the dress. I’m being fanciful here, but I’d like to believe the next owner might have been the 2nd wife of Henry, the 2nd Duke of Chandos.   Anne (d. 1759), a former chambermaid married Henry in 1744 (coincidentally, only 4 months after the death …

Rate the Dress: Princess worthy summer whites?

Last week I showed you a very brief (from a historical perspective) 1920s Jean Patou dress with heavy beading and a bit of an Egyptian twist.  You generally agreed that the mannequin wasn’t doing the dress many favours, but after that your opinions diverged: some of you thought it would have been so much better in bolder colours, some of you though that the restrained colour scheme was all that kept it from being garish; some of you though the dark beads were off, some thought it was exactly what the dress needed.  Most of you thought that it was complete perfection, and the dress came in at 8.9 out of 10, just a hairs breath away from making a perfect 9. This week, let’s move from silk to cotton, and from beading to embroidery, for a dress that sounds much simpler, but has an even more illustrious pedigree, as it is said to have belonged to Madame Élisabeth, younger sister of Louis XVI. This ensemble is an excellent example of the transitional styles of the …