The last few dresses I’ve shown you were so crisp and precise, almost clinically perfect, even if you didn’t necessarily think they were attractive. I decided it was time to find something a little softer, with a bit of layering and randomness. And who better fits that bill than Lucile, the designer who made layering, embellishment, and a blurred line between lingerie (late Edwardian style) and luxurious partywear her calling card?
Last Week: an 1880s reception gown in two parts
Last week’s dress really boiled down to: were you team bows, or team no bows? Team bows thought the bows tied the dress together, and cleverly hid the problem often caused by 1880s front ruched skirts (aka, what’s the point of the ruching?). Team no bows…just didn’t like them.
FTR, I’m from Hawai’i, so obviously I’m team bows #letsgobows
There was also some discussion of whether the train made sense or not, if the bodice and skirt made sense together, and lace colour.
The Total: 7.5 out of 10
A teeny tiny improvement on the week before, but hardly what could be called a roaring success.
This week: A Lucile evening dress in tulle, lace and satin
This Lucile gown was sold at auction a few years back, and definitely wasn’t in the best condition. Some of its embellishments are crumpled or missing, and there are marks and stains (most obviously at the underarms)
Despite the condition issues, I think the design intent of the gown is still clearly visible. It features Lucile’s characteristic layering of fabrics and textures, with multiple layers and hues of delicate tulle and detailed beading over lace over lush satin over yet another layer of embroidered and appliquéd lace.
The mix of subtly blended colours: sky blue and evening purple with pinks, yellows and greens in the flowers, is a classic Lucile touch. It’s experimental and inventive without relying on vivid, loud colours.
The dress is notable for featuring one of Lucile’s most famous touches: pulled up or slit skirts which revealed large expanses of [stockinged] legs. Lucile said “If I never did anything else in my life, I showed that a woman’s leg can be a thing of beauty, instead of a ‘limb,’ spoken of only in the privacy of a fitting room.”
While her ‘mannequins’ may have shown off the full length of stocking, Lucile’s clients inevitably chose a more modest version of the look, with layers of lace and tulle keeping the legs rather more discreetly veiled. That’s exactly what this dress shows, with a froth of lace and ribbon embellished tulle obscuring the opening of the picked up skirts.
What do you think? This dress is classic 1914, and classic Lucile, with every possible embellishment of the era. Does it work?
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. Phrase criticism as your opinion, rather than a flat fact. 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.