Last week I featured an 1860s dress in ever-so-fashionable aniline yellow, with black lace. The dress elicited a very divided response. A third of you thought it was gauche and garish, a third of you found it absolutely glorious and golden, and the rest of you could admire the bravery and the fashion-forwardness, even if it was a bit too wasp-y not WASP-y for your tastes.
The balance of adoration, abhore-ation, and mild in-period appreciation gave the dress a 6.4 out of 10, which is the lowest we’ve had in quite some time.
This week I have gone as far from bold, garish, and outré as possible, to the almost obsessively delicate, subdued and detailed fashions of the first decade of the 20th century.
This dress from the Indianapolis Museum of Art is made of peach pink silk, embellished with a profusion of pintucks, shirring, ruching, three-dimensional ribbon flowers, velvet detailing, and almost photo-realistic appliqués of peony flowers.
The bodice features the classic 1900s drooping pigeon breast, with the sheer silk revealing layers of detailing. The waist is emphasised with a fashionable swiss-waist inspired corselet effect, highlighted with velvet.
From a distance the dress might look quite simple, all the detailing blending together into one whole, but the closer one gets to the dress, the more packed it is with embellishments.
There are shirred panels of fabric opening up to form godet effects, and appliqués on the hem, over ruffled underlayers, so that no part of the dress lacks interest.
What do you think? Overwhelmingly embellished and frilly, or the perfect example of Edwardian über-feminism?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10.