Usually when I show you 1910s evening wear, I assume it’s a shoe-in for rave reviews and +8 scores. Not last weeks dress though!
True, 1/4 of you liked it, but of the other 3/4, 1/4 of you liked the fabrics (but not the skirt draping) 1/4 of you liked the skirt draping (but not the fabric) and 1/4 of you didn’t like the skirt draping OR the fabrics. It received quite a few comparisons to playing dress-ups with window curtains. I think the dress has suffered with age associations: in 1912 that sort of lace wasn’t used for curtains, but now it is (and not even elegant ones), so we can’t look at it without thinking curtains, so the poor thing came in at a paltry 5.4 out of 10.
This week lets look at an entire ensemble, on the actual wearer, the better to assess how it looked in-period. This is Mrs Lockett Agnew (nee Augusta Isobel Sheil) in a confection of ivory stripes and gold and yellow embellishments.
Mrs Agnew’s ensemble is the height of late 1880s style, with strong elements of the 18th c revivalism that was in fashion at the time. The tilted brim of her ostrich feather hat is a nod to late 18th c hat styles, and her jacket, trimmed with decorative gold buttons, references the jackets of Georgian riding habits.
While historically inspired, the outfit is also redolent of its own era: the broad tone-on-tone stripes are typical of the bold yet subtle fabrics popular in the 1880s, and the curved front of the jacket and decadent under-bodice emphasise her fashionably ‘neat’ figure, with narrow shoulders and a long, rounded torso, very much in the style of the acclaimed beauties of the period, such as Alexandra of Denmark.
Mrs Agnew was probably described as ‘handsome’, or perhaps ‘elegant’, rather than ‘pretty’ or ‘beautiful’, but we’re not here to judge her looks, but her choice of outfit. Do you think it elegant and beautiful? Suitable to the wearer?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10