Last week I showed you an 1880s Worth gown in red, with elements borrowed from a number of 18th c decades. Many of you loved the dress, but weren’t quite sure about the skirt trim (in most amusing ways), bringing the dress down to an 8.8 out of 10 – very good, but not the best Worth has done by far.
This week I present Frances Adeline ‘Fanny’ Seward in an early 1860s ensemble that consists of a what appears to be a skirt and swiss waist in mauve silk satin, and a sheer blouse with puffed mamaluke sleeves. The sheer blouse gives us an interesting, and fairly unusual, contemporary depiction of a visible corset cover or chemise.
Fanny was the youngest child of United States Secretary of State William H. Seward. She is most famous for her detailed diary documenting her life during the Civil War. She’s also known for helping to save the life of her father, brother, and three other men when one of John Wilkes Booth’s co-conspirators attempted to assassinate him by stabbing him. After the attack Fanny, who had been in the room with her ill father when the would-be-assassin crippled her brother with a blow to the head and burst in with a knife, bandaged the badly injured men while the only other un-injured person in the house went for a doctor. Sadly, Fanny herself died of tuberculosis only a little over a year after the attack.
While Fanny was undoubtedly a fascinating, intelligent, and strong woman, today we are most concerned with her taste in clothes. What do you think of the outfit she picked for her only painted portrait?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10
(and Daniel, I swear I picked this out and had it written and scheduled before you dubbed last week’s dress the Fanny dress!)