Last week’s very red mid-18th century Rate the Dress was awash with confusion. Â Was Mr Howard really that round and pink? Â Or did Batoni have it in for his unfortunate sitter? Â Or was Batoni really quite kind in his painting, indicating that Mr Howard was even rounder and pinker in real life? Â I am surprised that no one brought up that roundness and pinkness were actually rather admired attributes in the mid 18th century! Â Perhaps Batoni made him rounder and pinker than usual,Â andÂ flattered him. Â But that still left the mystery of why his suit was so very, overwhelmingly, red. Â Was it supposed to evoke a military uniform? Â The biggest mystery of all: what was that thing across his crotch? Â Despite this, red and 18th century most always win out, bringing in a reasonable 6.8 out of 10.
Last week I picked red to contrast with the dull colours of the week before. Â Why this week’s Rate the Dress?
Well, I’m in Melbourne, and all the houses in Melbourne are decorated with this amazing metal fretwork. Â I spent all of yesterday walking around, taking pictures of it, and saying “Oooooooh.” Â I couldn’t decide what to do for ‘Rate the Dress’, and asked friends and readers. Â One suggested Autumn, another a movie costume, and a third something Japanese to go with the Japanese patterns I posted yesterday, but Theresa (my hostess) suggested I do one inspired by the fretwork.
So I’ll get to the autumn and movie themes in the coming weeks, but for now, a Melbourne-fretwork inspired Rate the Dress in the form of an 1890s evening gown by Worth from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:
What do you think of the pale pink brocade with its latticework patterns, and the way the design is highlighted with beading and applique on the skirt front? Â Does the asymmetrical fall of beads across the bodice add interest to the dress, or unbalance the whole aesthetic?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10