Last week for Rate the Dress I presented a Dress-Off: two Lanvins from the same design, but with slightly different cuts and finishes. The vast majority of you found the dress in the foreground to be the more successful frock: more balanced in its cut, and the sleeve and neck designs. Only two people rated the dress behind better. Even in the less preferred design, Lanvin pulled it off, and both dresses rated well, with the dress in the foreground coming in at 8.6 out of 10, and the one behind it at 7.3 out of 10.
This week, since it’s Halloween, we’re rating a fancy dress: or, possibly a theatre costume.
The woman in this painting is usually identified as Eva Marie Veigel, Mrs David Garrick. Neither the sitter nor the artist have been completely verified, but she certainly bears a resemblance to other known portraits of Eva Marie, who was said to have been one of the most beautiful women in Europe (granted, this is an appellation that occurs so often in period biographies that it must have been applied to at least half of the women in Europe in the 18th century!)
If this is Veigel, it was probably painted shortly after her marriage to Garrick in 1749.
Eva Marie is shown holding a mask, and dressed in an outfit that suggests a nod to Oriental dress, with a long, sleeved waistcoat, and a short-sleeved ‘Turque’ or ‘Sultane’ style over-jacket.
The outfit could be standard 18th century masquerade dress: a popular choice for portrait attire, or could hint at Eva Marie’s profession: as a dancer, and actress.
Fetishising other cultures in costumes is no longer quite the done thing in modern society, but in 18th century Europe adopting Oriental dress was a way to show off your intellectualism and wealth. It indicated your knowledge and awareness of the wider world, and your ability to afford the luxury fabrics of the east. Has this outfit succeeded? Is it beautiful, and interesting? What do you think of her ever-so-slightly exotic fancy dress?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10