This week’s Rate the Dress goes from big 1890s sleeves, to little tiny 1790s bodices
Last week: an 1890s reception gown in pumpkin orange
Many of you loved the Anne reference, but not everyone is a puffed sleeve fan. It lost some points just for the sleeves. And gained some just for the sleeves. And lost some points just for the colour. And gained some just for the colour. The one thing everyone seemed to agree on was a not-sure-ness about the scale of the beading and the chiffon overlay.
The Total: 7.9 out of 10
Well, and improvement on the week before, and almost good enough to count as a proper success.
This week: a 1790s dress and matching fichu
This dress represents a very brief and specific moment of fashion, where the last remnants of 18th century styles, in the form of fichu and an open overskirt, meet the extremely brief bodice of the early Regency/Empire silhouette.
When I say extremely brief, I mean it. The bodice appears to be no more than four inches deep.
It’s a style that appeared for only a few years at the very end of the 18th century.
I imagine that the dress would look quite different depending on the style of stays it was worn over.
The inclusion of a matching fichu suggests that the bodice was usually covered, which changes the silhouette significantly.
Silhouette aside, the clear and obvious star of the dress is the embroidery, worked in twisted silk thread, each mirrored floral motif a unique design.
Even the scrolling designs that frame each floral spray are unique, a masterwork of inventiveness.
Some of the motifs are clearly identifiable, other are more obscure.
The embroidery continues on the under-petticoat, although it is obscured by the overskirt at all but the centre front.
The embroidery must have been done by a very dedicated embroider, or for a very discerning client.
It’s amazing, given the scale and elaborate attention to detail in the embroidery, and the amount of available fabric to work with in the drsess, that it was not adjusted and re-made to later styles. Instead it remains a perfect example of an extremely brief fashion for extremely brief bodices.
What do you think? As an example of its time and type, is this dress a masterpiece, or a mistake?
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. 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! And 0 is not on a scale of 1 to 10. Thanks in advance!)