Last week’s very red mid-18th century Rate the Dress was awash with confusion. Was Mr Howard really that round and pink? Or did Batoni have it in for his unfortunate sitter? Or was Batoni really quite kind in his painting, indicating that Mr Howard was even rounder and pinker in real life? I am surprised that no one brought up that roundness and pinkness were actually rather admired attributes in the mid 18th century! Perhaps Batoni made him rounder and pinker than usual, and flattered him. But that still left the mystery of why his suit was so very, overwhelmingly, red. Was it supposed to evoke a military uniform? The biggest mystery of all: what was that thing across his crotch? 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. 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. I spent all of yesterday walking around, taking pictures of it, and saying “Oooooooh.” I couldn’t decide what to do for ‘Rate the Dress’, and asked friends and readers. 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? 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