19th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the dress: Cabanel’s young lady

I don’t know what you thought of last week’s Rate the Dress, because I’ve been focusing on camping, not blogging (yay!), so I hope I capture your attention by continuing the theme of patterned fabric, but moving from a red dress to a redhead.

Alexandre Cabanel is most noted for his rather melodramatic fantasy and mythological paintings, but for a brief period in the 1880s he did a lovely series of portraits.

Alexandre Cabal, Portrait of a Young Lady, about 1887

This one depicts an unknown young woman in a very fitted dress of flowered peach brocade and ice blue duchesse satin trimmed with lace.  We don’t know who she is.  We don’t know exactly when or why the portrait was done.  We can, however, still discuss the dress.  What do you think?  Too mature?  Too fussy?  Odd colour combination?  Or sublime?

Rate the dress on a scale of 1 to 10.


  1. This is a nice one. It’s a shame she’s sitting instead of standing for the portrait, then the skirt would look much better, not so crushed. Anyway, I think the pale pale blue is just enough to make the peach sparkle. This dress seems almost understated, even with the bold floral print. The neckline is so flattering and the sleeves look comfortable and end just at the right spot on her arm. I say an 8.

  2. Mlle. Sophie says

    I think it’s lovely. The fabric is GORGEOUS, and that peach seems like it would be hard to work with, but it balances out. In a couple of ways it reminds me of Eighteenth century garb, and that is always a good thing! I’m terrible at ratings, I can never decide so… I guess… GAH! I don’t know!

  3. Love the dress! the colors are beautiful together and it goes well with her skn tone and best of all it looks like a roccoco dress i love 1th century! 10

  4. I love the richness of the fabric–you can just tell it feels wonderful. The simple cut and the bold print complement each other very nicely. I love the sleeves and the neckline. And the lady is just so fresh and sweet looking that she could probably make a paper bag look good. A 9 from me 🙂

  5. This is one of the best dresse I’ve ever seen. I love the combination of fabrics and colours. You would say peach silk with lace is just too much. But it’s beautifull. And her hair. And the neckline !
    I would really considder making this one. But I know I will never get a fabric that pretty. 9 out of 10

  6. This dress is the colours of my bedroom, and I love them, my ceiling is that exact blue, and I have cream walls and a terracotta feature wall. Oh no giving away too may intimacies on the wicked evil internet, hee hee. But beside the point, love the dress.
    9 for me too.

  7. I think it’s a beautiful dress, and well-suited to its wearer.

    In the abstract, one might not expect the ice blue and pale peach to work together so well, but they do! The fit of the dress is perfect, showing off the young lady’s exquisite figure and snow-white skin to advantage.

    I actually could do without the lace–it looks a bit sloppy and out of place (!) Overall, a 9 from me too.

  8. Beth D. says

    I like it! especially the neckline and the 3/4 sleeves. I give it a 9/10.

  9. Minerve says

    Althought those aren’t my favourite colors (peach and pale blue) and 1880s isn’t my favourite fashion period, I have to agree this is a lovely dress. It’s very soft and feminine.

    Like Jo I too would have preferred her to be standing, especially for the skirt. Overall, it is a lovely dress and the portrait itself is very nice. I like the young lady’s smile; it somewhat reminds me of Mona Lisa’s. I give this 8/10.

  10. Gail says

    That’s a tight dress, literally and in a slang figurative good way. Her patterned dress complements her hair and the dress design is very lovely.

  11. It’s very pretty, but something in it rings false to me – I think it’s the tightness of the bodice opposed to the laxly laying lace. It’s like having a dressing gown that’s laced tight… it doesn’t make sense.
    But otherwise, it’s really lovely.

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