Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Liberty Yellow

Much to my surprise, last week’s 1870s summer whites proved very popular. I can’t say they particularly did anything for me, though I enjoyed how much the outfit reminded me of Morisot and Clause in Manet’s The Balcony.  While it didn’t make my heart go pitter-pattern, I will admit that I do love it when you guys love something!  Enthusiasm is always attractive!  The enthusiasm (with slight reservations about the scale of embroidery) yielded the dress a perfect 9 out of 10.  Not as good as the week before, but still excellent.

Since a few people mentioned that last week’s selection reminded them of a robe, and since I have Aesthetic dress on my mind thanks to Costume College, and yellow on my mind because yellow, this week I present a warm, cozy Aesthetic robe by Liberty of London.

This garment completely rejects the fashionable nipped-waist and exaggerated sleeves of 1890s fashion, seen even in most tea gowns and other ‘relaxed’ garments of the era, for a loose, Renaissance inspired silhouette and shirred double-layer sleeves that also borrow from that era.

The plush silk edgings of the robe further serve to evoke the  fur edged robes shown in paintings by the likes of Holbein.  Even the large-scale fabric is a nod to the large-scale Italian Renaissance fabrics seen in Eleanor of Toledo and the like, but rendered in typically Aesthetic shades of golden yellow, and with typically counter-culture flowers: in this case, sunflowers.

What do you think? Does this avant-gard ensemble manage to be both regal and comfortable? Or is it just a historically inspired fuddy-dud?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10


  1. Oh, I would wear this in an instant! The simplicity of the overall line can handle the scale of the floral motifs, and the plush looks like something one could spend the day stroking (like a security blanket?). The yellow reads warm to me, rather than acid, and would feel like one was wearing sunshine on a gloomy winter’s day (which it currently is here).

    10 of 10

  2. Love: The layered effect of the matched colors with different fabrics. The thick trim at the hem. The sleeves.

    Not Love: The front. It just looks weird and awkward, like a caveman vest morphed into a robe. From the side, neat, but the front has an awkwardness I can’t shake. The collars–both the stand-up exterior and almost t-shirt-esque interior–are not doing it for me.

    6/10 for a pretty equal balance of love and not love but ultimately more love than not.

  3. Emilia says

    I love it. Reminds me a bit of the Crimson Peak film, and how they used yellow for Edith. It just looks regal and elegant, the yellow is rich, the trim sumptuous, and I would swan around the house in it pretending to be 1890s Anne Boleyn in a heartbeat. Love. 10/10.

    • Lori Watk says

      I’m late to the party on this but agree with Emilia, I’d pretend to be Anne Boleyn and order family around.

  4. Worn at the time it was made I could see it being a very avant-gard piece that would actually be somewhat pleasing to the eye. But looking at it now, it just reminds me too much of a modern attempt at rehashing the styles of the renaissance era. Part of me just loves the velvet, but the other side of me thinks it is all a bit much. 5 out of 10

  5. To me it looks like an outfit Padme wore in (the newer but not newest) Star Wars, except hers was plum.
    I love the contrast between the beautiful yellow and the brown trim. The one thing that I find strange is the front of the underdress. Like Rowenna above, I don’t love the collars, and I find it completely shapeless. A smidge of shaping, would improve it for me. 7/10

  6. I remember seeing that at the Victoria and Albert. It is very yellow indeed! I’m not a fan of the color combination though. 6/10

  7. I think it is absolutely beautiful. Another outfit i would wear in a heart beat. That sunflower brocade is just glorious. 10/10

  8. It reminds me of the red velvet coat from the early 17th century that’s also in the V&A. I like the cut, I like the draping, I like the idea but something (the fabrics?) look off. Maybe it’s the colors, maybe it’s the velvet overload, maybe it’s the very straight front of the undergown but if someone told me this was a 1970s housecoat made from polyester I would not doubt that for a second. 8/10

    • Kathryn says

      I definately think it’s the colours. Each on their own are beautiful, but now that you’ve mentioned the ’70s, I realize that together these colours look like dark wood kitchen cabinets next to Harvest Gold appliances.

  9. Beautiful color and fabric, and the dark brown fur makes for a sumptuous combination. On the other hand, I too prefer clothing with a bit more body shape definition, and more neckline interest. A 7 of 10.

  10. Not too fond of this shape, nor the brown and yellow, but the sunflower detail is lovely.

  11. I don’t particularly like it, although I can see it’s beautifully made and well thought out. I kind of like the silhouette and lines, but I dislike the colors and would never wear them – they don’t suit me at all.
    The fur trimming is very dark, I’d love to see this done in different shades of blue and white trimming.


  12. Ooo, I want one! It’s colourful without being an assault on the eye, it’s got a nice variety of textures, and it’s rich without being Too Much. I also love it for saying “stuff the fashion, I’m going to be comfortable, and look good doing it”. 10/10

  13. I feel bad but… I hate it.
    The miss-match of textures, the yellow and brown, the sleeves, I hate it all.

    • Me too. Looks so comfortable, so well made, so “I don’t care what anyone thinks of me”, but I still can’t get past the weirdness of it.


  14. Kathryn says

    I pike the overall shape of this robe, with the Watteau-esque volume in the back, the glorious ruched sleeves, the collar standing at attention. I also love the shade of yellow, and the combination of solid yellow ubderdress with jaqyard robe. Splendid.

    What I do no love is the high neckline of the underdress. This is entirely me projecting my preferences here, but I don’t find neckines that high very comfortable, and this seems like it’s supposed to be a comfortable, relaxing garment. I also don’t love the brown trim with the yellow. I know that objectively, those colours go together, but the effect is just too heavy and intense for me. Again, not relaxing. I’d rather see a royal blue trim, or perhaps even a paler, icy blue, to cool off the yellow. In my mind, yellow and blue are best friends and should always be together. This would also mitigate the ‘caveman vest’ effect that someone upthread noticed.

    Overall, inventive and groundbreaking, and I appreicate the social change this respresents. I also appreciate seeing early Liberty pieces-it’s so cool to see the roots of modern Liberty here. But, as I said, it has its drawbacks, too. 7/10

    • Kathryn says

      Please forgive the spelling errors. Apple products are extremely easy to commit typos with.

  15. The historical references are a bit fussy and this gown takes the aesthetic dress ideal very seriously, having no shaping at all… but that sunflower brocade is lovely and that colour! Glorious, glowing, golden yellow! Those fabrics need such a simple shape to shine and I think the brown velvet works very well with it.

  16. I don’t normally like yellow, but this pulls it off, the fur trim is just enough to make it classy rather than punchy. I love the lines too. 9.5/10

  17. It is certainly bright. The pattern of the fabric is pretty, but the whole think looks heavy and impractical. 5/10

  18. Carol says

    I love it – looks very warm and comfortable while still being elegant and put together. 9/10 because I can’t wear that color, though.

  19. I never appreciated yellow until I moved to Oregon (gloomy winters anyone?). Now I love the color, though it is not one that flatters my complexion and I rarely wear it. That being said, this dress is fantastic. I love the use of warm earth tones and I think the yellow and brown complement each other nicely- much like the yellow and brown of sunflowers. And sunflowers are the main floral motif! How clever. I like the double sleeves and the outer layer’s stand collar. It feels very voluptuous and perfect for lounging snugly or sweeping down halls. The only complaint I have, as do others, is the inner dress. It looks like a lengthened 1960s dress and seems far too plain for the rest of the garment. Perhaps just a little bit of trim would tie it in better. Overall, a 8 out of 10!

  20. Lynne says

    I love it. I’d wear it like a shot. 10 out of 10.

    What a delight to have the brocade, but with sunflowers!

  21. It looks beautiful, glowing, warm and comfortable, and it would certainly keep you cozy in a neo-medieval house! What a lovely thing to cheer up a gloomy English winter day (as we have here). I love the ‘historical’ details, and idea of dressing exactly as you please. 10/10

  22. I love this Renaissance-inspired Art Nouveau (okay, Aesthetic) style, possibly because it also carried over into a certain brand of Czech fairy tale illustrations, and from them, into some Czech fairy tale film costumes.
    So on those grounds, I really like the overall idea, although I am not entirely sure about the execution – something about the sleeve puffs seems… half-baked? Not puffy enough, and too puffy for it to be a nice flowy robe. The combination of puffs in the front and no puffs in the back is kind of weird. The combination of elaborate overrobe with the smooth underdress is awesome, though – the underdress is almost 1960s-70s, and I also think I can see that Trisha Biggar did pick the Padme Amidala inspiration somewhere in there. 😉

    The one thing, aside from the sleeve puffs, that puts me off of it a bit, is the unshakeable impression that this dress screams “I’m rich enough to dress simply,” much like the whole 18th century pastoral thing…

  23. India says

    I love the clean, simple, elegant lines of this and the glow of the deep yellow. However, it’s the detail that spoils it. I can forgive the neckline as I have a feeling that it may well have originally been intended to be worn with an elaborate necklace of some sort. The sleeves on the other hand are a hot mess and why, oh why do people so often drag a sunny yellow back down to earth by pairing it with a dull brown trim. In this case the offence is aggravated by the fabric used. It’s not fur, it’s not velvet and, made of silk or not, it manages to look like a cheap substitute compared to the opulence of the brocade. So 7/10 but can I please have the pattern? I’d make this in an instant.

Comments are closed.