Last week I showed you an 18th century menswear ensemble, just making the transition from Rococo peacock to Regency Beau. Reactions to the ensemble were quite mixed: you though the colours were the perfect balance of interest/hated them and thought them boring, adored the mix of pattern coordinating without matching/thought it clashed terrible, loved the slightly wacky hat and big buttons for the pop they gave the outfit/found the hat and buttons utterly awful and cartoonish. Still, most of you really liked it (I think it’s just SO MUCH BETTER than most modern menswear (though we’re getting better) that it’s hard not to at least like it somewhat, so it came in at 7.8 out of 10.
This week we’re going from slightly wacky menswear, to slightly wacky womenswear – with a little menswear inspiration.
This mid-1870s bustle dress has a hint of militaria and menswear tailoring in the bodice, combined with the 1870s bustle silhouette at the height of excess trimmings. The dress features not only a fascinating bit of centre back trim, elaborate jacket pleats, heavily fringed layers of skirt, an asymmetrical bustle, three-dimensional turn-back pleating at the hem, but also the height of ridiculous/whimsical 1870s skirt ornamentation: a parasol pocket. For those moments when it’s so much handier to tuck your parasol into a pocket than carry it, of course.
Sadly the MFA does not provide an image of the front of the dress, so you’ll have to rate it based on what you can see from the back. Do you find it charmingly whimsical, or laughably ridiculous?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10