Last week for Rate the Dress I showed a late Victorian walking dress, which the Mint Museum had styled as a skating suit. The mad authentic steampunk-ness of the ensemble captured some of your fancies, but the overall response ranged from quite negative to ‘it’s nice, but I’m not impressed’, so 7.3 out of 10.
My description came in at top points though!
This week I present another ‘walking’ dress, but this one with even less pretense of practicality:
Believe it or not, this is an outfit for walking (in the late 18th century sense at least). Our ‘galant nymph,’ parasol at the ready, is hastening (‘tranquilly’, no less) toward the Palais Royal.
Her ensemble is described as a robe a la Chinoise (I believe that is meant to be Chinese inspired, and the parasol probably added to the effect), with the skirt lifted up to reveal her striped petticoat and tucked through the pocket slits (retroussée).
The nymph’s bodice is also striped, with a striking chevron placement going up the centre back, and uncharacteristic (for the 18th century) horizontal stripes on her sleeves. A double-layered pinked ruffle, fur tippet, and bouffant frame her neckline.
On her head she wears a bonnet á la Richard (inquiring minds want to know, which Richard inspired a cascade of pinked pink ribbon, a plethora of ruffles and poufs, all surmounted with a flourish of ostrich feathers in pink and grey? Is is supposed to be some sort of Medieval Lion-Hearted tribute?)
And her lifted skirt reveals white stockings and bowed shoes in a rich wine purple that perfectly coordinates with the stripes on her bodice and skirt.
Here she is again, in her be-wigged and be-poofed splendor, her deportment ‘majestic, noble, and proud’ (the writer who captioned the Galerie des Modes really didn’t hold back).
Clearly, it’s not an outfit for heavy exercising. But from the era of fashion excess, for a light promenade on a sunny day, when one can admire the outfits of the other ladies, and be admired in turn, it’s perfectly admirable.
Or is it resoundingly awful?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10