20th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Poiret Negligee of 1913

Last week I gave you a double Rate the Dress, with a fantastical winter scene and two different outfits to Rate.  Overall you liked the outfits but thought some of the details were a bit silly.  The detail that all liked was the military frogging on the brunettes jacket, and she rated an impressive 9.2 out of 10, leaving poor blondie with her miss-matched skirt to trail at 7.7 out of 10.  Gentlemen may prefer blonds, but costume enthusiasts don’t always think they are best dressed!

If you follow me on Facebook you’ll know my opinion of this week’s Rate the Dress, but I couldn’t resist posting it here.  It’s so very festive, and perfect for the upcoming  Bi/Tri/Quadri/Quin/Sex/Septi/Octo/Nona/Centennial  Challenge coming up in the Historical Sew Fortnightly.

Poiret Oriental gown, Spring 1913. Sold at the Doyle couture auction, November 1999.

Poiret Oriental gown, Spring 1913. Sold at the Doyle couture auction, November 1999.

Festive isn’t always good though.  Sometimes festive can look like a bad costume.  And certainly not everyone likes bright yellow.  Even at the height of Poiret’s popularity he was sometimes accused of sacrificing taste for shock value.  Has this garment strayed into tacky, or does it manage the balance of striking and avant garde successfully?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10



  1. I adore everything about this . . . aside from the colors. But that’s a personal bias as I’m sure people would be convinced I’d come down with a case of Spanish flu if I wore it.

    So I’ll give it a 7.

    • *g* I was going to say very nearly the same thing – I love the style of this garment, but the colours would look absolutely hideous on me! Still it would look good on someone with a different kind of complexion, so I’m going to rate it 8.

  2. Zach says

    Used to, I hated yellow with a passion–yellow food, yellow houses, yellow clothes and everything else yellow. In the past few years, however, I’ve grown quite fond of certain shades until I have actually become really fond of yellow. If you had shown this to me a few years ago, I would have really disliked it, but (looking at it now) I really like the way it looks. The green makes an interesting contrast, too, and I don’t think I would have liked it without it there; it completes the dress. Aside from that, this dress comes from one of my very favorite eras, and I LOVE the way the dress is made. In fact, I love everything about this dress, especially that necklace thing (or whatever it is).

    Ten out of ten!

  3. Joanne says

    I agree with Samantha 99% – I don’t like the yellow, but I do like the teeny bit of green. Other than that, it’s Poiret, and worth an 8.

  4. Hrm, I think on the right person, it would be stunning. The lines are lovely, but the colors are acidic and bold. It would depend on skin tones, I suppose. I give it a 6

  5. The silhouette is marvelous (though I suspect most women would trip over the hem if they were doing anything in in other than standing still). As for the color scheme, I would never wear it (I’d look as though I were ill if I wore that shade of yellow) but it would be smashing on the right woman. A 7 (because that woman would be hard to find).

  6. I don’t even care if the colors would look good on me or not. I love the silhouette and the details, and it would make me happy just to look at it. And, except for the stumble potential, it looks comfortable!
    10 of 10.

  7. Sara says

    I love Poiret and this is an exquisite example. I particularly admire the way the line of the banding on the sleeves echoes the angle of the belt and the way the fronts are gathered into that magnificent tassel, which must be marvellous to walk behind. 10 out of 10

  8. Angela Wicentowich says

    I ADORE this gown! The details, the colour combo – ALL of it. This is an easy 10/10 for me!

  9. I just love everything about this dress from colour to silhouette. 10 out of 10 from me. Great dress to start the new year off with.

  10. It’s something different for me, but funnily enough I love it! The only thing I’m not sure about is the tassles on the hem, but putting those aside I’d wear it, though the colours would require a bit of makeup.

  11. Claire Payne says

    Alas, not one for me. The whole thing looks like it was made from the dining room curtains. The yellow is too bright, the lines too uninteresting and the tassles look like curtain tie backs. Not a good look sorry. Only 2 out of 10 from me and that is for the shade of green used.

  12. I like it. I like the colour, though I can see why other people’s opinion could vary. I really like the silhouette and design of this one. However, I’m going to have to dock a couple of points for the tassel. As a design element I like it, but you couldn’t wear the dress without tripping over it. 8/10.

  13. I absolutely love the lines and drape of this dress, but the colors are a bit garrish. I like the green, but not the yellow. However, the drape of the sleeves, the line of the dress body, and the slightly naughty look of the robe over a negligee is absolutely stunning. I love the lace on the sleeves too. Not sure how I feel about the tassle in the front, though. All in all I’d give it a 7.

  14. Maire Smith says

    I was about to say 10/10 for the fantastic colours and beautiful drape, but then I noticed the horrible trip-up tassel, which makes all the grace vanish into a vision of the wearer stumbling.


  15. Jenny Wren says

    *scrolling down* Wow, colours! Jewel tones! Shimmery! Beautiful! *scrolling down* What is that hair clip doing at the bottom?

    … Goddamn it. It was so close.


  16. Demented Seamstress says

    This would be great on stage, as a costume, but wearing this anywhere else would be a bit too much. It looks like it was meant to be easy to see from the back of a dark theatre.


  17. I can’t wear yellow, or anything that shape, and I’d trip on the hem and rip it within a few steps.

    Regardless, 10/10. Just looking at it on the model makes me melt, imagine it on a dark, limber lady…. sensational.

  18. Daniel says

    POIRET! Of course. I was sure this was Jessie Franklin Turner or someone like that. But Poiret – of course. I love this. I think it’s the perfect negligee/lounging gown – it just looks like wearing it would make anyone feel wonderfully decadent and glamorous and langorous and just gorgeous. You can just feel it can’t you… exactly what Lucile would have called a “gown of emotion”. A resounding, absolute, utter ten out of ten – I think this is perfection.

  19. Loving that tassle in front, and believe it should be worn out, not merely in the boudoir!


    • I suspect this would have been worn in much the same way as a tea gown – to trail elegantly around the house during House Parties and informal dinners (with only your 20 closest friends 😉 )

  20. PatW says

    Marvelous on a dark-haired woman with a slender figure. No others need apply.

  21. I adore this dress, I would wear it in a heartbeat, complete with a suitably curled coiffure and a delightful pair of pointy slippers.


    Ruby xx

  22. Julia says

    I´m not a fan of yellow, but this dress is simply stunning. I don´t think it looks the best it can presented like this, but on the right person, this would definitely be a 10.

  23. Lynne says

    I nearly forgot to give this the 10 out of 10 I think it deserves!

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