Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Bright Pink ‘Teens Velvet

Last week’s Rate the Dress was very subdued and subtle and restful.  This week I’m going in exactly the opposite direction, and featuring a vivid pink 19teens dress with lots of zing.

Last week:  A 1920s artistic ensemble

A few of you loved it for looking supremely comfortable and wearable, and most of you could appreciate the elegance of the embellishment, but many of you were not quite convinced by the colour, or all the details – especially the cuffs.

The Total: 7.7 out of 10

And a huge thank you to Daniel for adding a bunch of extra historical information and context about the outfit!

This week:

I wanted something bright and fun as a contrast to last week, and you can’t get much brighter and more fun than hot pink velvet:

Gown in silk velvet by Robert, Paris, 1910-1914, sold by Augusta Auctions April 20, 2016

Gown in silk velvet by Robert, Paris, France, 1910-1914, sold by Augusta Auctions April 20, 2016

Augusta Auctions gave a date range of 1910-14 when they sold this pink velvet confection, but the draped hobble skirt is so absolutely typical of 1913-14 that I feel confident dating it to those years.

Gown in silk velvet by Robert, Paris, 1910-1914, sold by Augusta Auctions April 20, 2016

The horizontal seam across the hips, while unusual to modern eyes, allows the draping of the skirt, and causes interesting visual contrasts as the grain of the velvet changes, creating the effect of different shades of pink.

The seam also widens the hips – emphasising the still fashionably small waist, and moving away from the extremely narrowed hips of the earlier 1910s.

Gown in silk velvet by Robert, Paris, 1910-1914, sold by Augusta Auctions April 20, 2016

Gown in silk velvet by Robert, Paris, 1910-1914, sold by Augusta Auctions April 20, 2016

The pink appears particularly vivid against the muted tones of the metal lace and silk chiffon sleeves, but the contrast was originally probably much less stark: the lace, un-tarnished, a brighter gold or silver, the chiffon either a brighter white, or purposefully subdued to create the illusion of bare skin.  Tying together all this boldness, the sparkle of diamantes, anchoring the neckline, and shimmering as the arms moved.

Gown in silk velvet by Robert, Paris, 1910-1914, sold by Augusta Auctions April 20, 2016

Gown in silk velvet by Robert, Paris, 1910-1914, sold by Augusta Auctions April 20, 2016

Obviously the flowers on the corsage have aged someone, and aren’t quite blooming as intended, so please don’t judge the effects of age too harshly.

What do you think?  Is this rosy hued 19teens frock delicious or declasse?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

A reminder about rating — feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment.  Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting. However it’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste.

(as usual, nothing more complicated than a .5.  I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment, so I can find it!  Thanks in advance!)


  1. Baa says

    I’m sure this was hi fashion back in the day & is really quite lovely although bit faded and worn now ( I know I’m a bit faded & worn having aged past that first sparkling young bloom
    of youth). I can picture a young girl on the verge of womanhood looking quite daring yet still a little demure in this. 7/10

  2. I do like the combination of velvet and draping, and even though the pink is not a shade I would use myself, for the right complexion/hair color it would be delightful.

    However, I do not like the combination of the velvet and the lace/chiffon/whatever. To me they look unrelated. If the bodice/sleeve combo were sheer but in the same color range as the velvet I would find it more pleasing.

    7 of 10

  3. It’s kind of garish in harsh modern light but I can imagine this looking gorgeous and elegant in candlelight…8/10

  4. TracyRagland says

    I love the silhouette but not the dress so much. I find the texture of the velvet to overwhelm the lace and chiffon of the bodice. Individually, each fabric is lovely, but color and texture contrast makes it jarring to my eyes.


  5. Lindsay says

    I would wear this every day of the week – the colour is marvelous and the shimmering from the sleeves and neckline would have been pure magic. Absolute 10/10. It is darling.

  6. Daniel Milford-Cottam says

    I rather love it. Its so much of its period and that pink is so joyously rosy and vibrant that it’s difficult not to feel happy. And I love the draping and the textures and rosy velvet is just happy making. I do have to dock a point for the lack of a waist treatment or sash, as the hip yoke jumps out a bit and looks a bit unrelieved in between the drapery and the activity up on the bodice, so, 8.5/10

  7. april pressley says

    I love it. I mean, I’d hate to be trying to actually go anywhere in a hobble skirt, but it looks just fab. just one point off for how very hard it would be to flee a burning ballroom.

  8. Linda Mae says

    I would like this much better in a black and white photo. The draping effects are awesome, product of a very skilled designer and seamstress. the placement of the bling is also interesting. But it is more of a sculpture than a functioning gown. Overall effect (ignoring to colors) = 8

  9. Nicole B. says

    How I wish we could see this gown as it appeared when new! I’m trying to ignore the tarnishing of the lace and drooping of the blossoms and picture it as a fresh rosebud in June. It seems to me that the drape and gather of the skirt would really lengthen the legs, and I love the lines of the sparkling trim on the shoulders and sleeves. Also, the train!
    The velvet is, unfortunately, exactly the color I would like my steak cooked. Not that I can hold that against the dress.
    I can’t really figure out what’s holding me back on this dress, except that there have been others I liked better.

  10. It’s hard for me to imagine it with the lace fresh and new but I’m certain it *was* so, and as such would have been devastatingly beautiful. Silvery (even gold!) lace sleeves with the elegant pink, sculptural draping at the bottom would have been most striking. I’d never wear it (I favor big strides, and would probably have fallen all over the place or torn the dress), but it’s a wonder anyway.

    One-half minus point for the floral bunch in the center of the torso. Yes, some kind of ornament was needed there, but a gigantic rose was not it.

    9.5 out of 10.

  11. Sigh. The only nice thing I can find to say is that the velvet is a lovely color. Probably because I am ignorant of what high fashion was in its day and I’m judging by my own preferences. 3 points for the lovely color and two points because I am probably too uninformed to properly appreciate it…5/10

  12. Joni says

    Oof. It’s bright and bold, but for me it doesn’t work at all. I don’t like the mix of textures; the velvet is too heavy for the chiffon and lace, and the pink is too bright – even if the chiffon and lace were brighter. The seam across the hips looks dragged down, like she stuffed the contents of her purse into her pockets. And the waist looks a bit unfinished, especially the back.


  13. Mirna Vergara says

    I love it! I love the mixture of textures and the contrast of color. I will love to recreat this dress as was in 1913-14 and wear it today. I think I will tone down the pink but for the time it was created it was bold and beautiful. 9/10

  14. Kathy Hanyok says

    I love the drape of the skirt and trying very hard to use my imagination to see the lace and chiffon fresh and new. Being short, I would not be able to carry the lines of the garment, but, oh, how I wish I could!

  15. Janine says

    It is beautifull, the color is magnificent. As Daniel already said, a small sash or belt is missing in my eyes. This dress would make a vava voom figure.
    The combination of drapped velvet and airy organdy is so nice.

  16. Emma says

    I always find it interesting when everyone seems to love a frock that just falls flat for me. I rather like the chiffon but everything else is just so bright and costumy to me. I don’t like the drape, although it is interesting. It would have been better on a person, I hope.


  17. Yeah, imagining it a bit less wilted, it’s stunning. That draped skirt is draped just right and while I was initially somewhat taken aback by the wide hips… as one who has them, well, it’s nice to see. 🙂 9/10

  18. Oh, I love this one! Pink velvet, perfectly draped skirt – and a gorgeous big fat rose as an embellishment is the cherry on top of the sartorial cake.

  19. I agree with Emma. Although I am trying to picture fresh metallic lace, etc. It still doesn’t seem to work with the pink. and sorry, the pink is hideous.
    2 for the person who had to do the draping with the velvet and then get it sewn!

  20. Diane says

    It’s gorgeous. Love the pink velvet (can’t believe I’m saying that), the draping, the silhouette, even the top as I picture untarnished lace glittering at the opera. The only thing that I am subtracting for is the awkward line of the seaming as seen from the side.

  21. Wylie says

    Okay. I really love the shape created by the draping of the skirt. I would wear it myself.

    Everything else in its current presentation, nope. To be fair to this garment, I can see it being kind of stunning in it’s day. The bold pink, delicate white chiffon and gossamer silver or gold; while not my taste, would have been breathtaking. But maybe not tasteful. However subjective to time and persons.

    In its current presentation-

  22. ceci says

    I wonder if there was originally a sash that got lost? Maybe gold? I actually love the side view….


  23. Hayley says

    What strikes me about this dress is that it makes the mannequin’s bum look super big! Like something that Sir Mix-A-Lot would sing about. This baby got back!

    Shocking pink and garish gold? It’s a dress that invites attention and comment, I can see it being worn by someone youthful and a bit brash. And honestly, take the fake flower off the front and I’d wear it to my next formal event and have a blast, lol.


  24. Ava Loy says

    Reminds me of an Erte.

    I can imagine wearing it to dinner, and hoping to be seated near the door, as one cannot even walk naturally in this dress. Not a big deal unless the wearer stumbles, then it is really hard to recover and avoid taking a spill.

    Bold, fun, totally impractical. I love the color and the draping. What an imaginative shape and construction.


  25. Lucy says

    Fun! Nice colour, and I like the giant rose
    Unsure about the skirt draping – I think it’d make your hips look weirdly and disproportionately huge, and the narrow skirt would be annoying to walk in

  26. 7/10. As others have said, the draping is to die for–and having just found this, I’m here to say, can someone tell me how to do this? It’s a cowl,right, so do you just expand it from the narrow bottom to the width of the top and then extend it at the center back? It’s great that it’s velvet so you can really see from the nap what’s what.

    My only beef with this is the embellishment on the front, which seem out of proportion to me, and I don’t think those green leaves are helping it along.

    As far as the color, it looks like raspberry sherbet to me, and I think it’s just divine–that gold keeping it away from your face makes it an easier color to actually wear, and you’d certainly stand out in it!

  27. Jess says

    I’m so in love with this dress. I made a green velvet/silk/lace version for the Edwardian Ball this year, and dove head first in to the rose theme – I wore a gigantic red rose as my hat! 10/10

Comments are closed.