Last week’s purple velvet aestheticism inspired reception gown / tea gown proved very popular, with many of you commenting that you loved it because you could actually imagine wearing it. It did loose points for awkward lower-front rouching (which I hadn’t noticed and will now never be able to unsee!), and not everyone was on-board with the long train, all-over high-necked-with-velvet thing, or the Renaissance sleeves. So, for lots of excitement with a few niggles, a still very regal score of 8.5 out of 10.
Although no-one commented that last week’s gown made them feel hot as happened with the green velvet gown earlier this year, this week I chose a dress that seemed much more summery in theme: an 1860s ballgown of butterfly patterned chine silk.
Were it not for the striking butterfly patterned fabric this dress would never have made it as a Rate the Dress choice. It’s almost completely devoid of ornamentation or design interest except for the tassel-trimmed sleeves, which would flutter and move with the dress, evoking wings, or delicate cocoons hanging from leaves – quite appropriately for the fabric.
The dress has one other unusual and intriguing feature: it appears to fasten up the front, which, combined with the pattern placement on the front, makes me wonder if it originally had a detachable bertha or guimpe, or other form of trimming which obscured part of the front. The museum record indicates a three-part garment, and Robe Ã transformation would suggest a dress with a day and evening bodice, or other method of altering the aesthetic or suitability for various occasions.
Without confirmation we can only guess, and rate the dress as it is (though hopefully without subtracting anything for the unfortunate glove choice). Do you think this dress has pulled off elegance and impact by relying solely on the fabric and the sleeve trimmings, or are even butterflies and dragonflies not enough to make it interesting?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10