All posts tagged: Ballgown

Rate the Dress: a butterfly ballgown, ca 1865

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 chiné 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 …

Jeanne Samary and the ballgown of 1878

‘Jeanne Samary Week’ (like ‘Shark Week’, but with cuter teeth) was inspired by a question about Jeanne Samary’s dress in Renoir’s full length portrait of her: I recreated the dress, and a reader wanted to know about the original gown. Who made it? What did it look like? Did it actually exist? This is my interpretation: Clearly I don’t have Samary’s enviable figure, but in all other ways I’m happy with my dress as a recreation of what Samary’s dress might have been. So, what do we know about Samary’s actual dress? Well, for one, it probably existed. Renoir was known to paint dresses that did exist, and did belong to the models he knew. The same frocks are repeated in various paintings in numerous paintings by Renoir and other Impressionist artists. Samary, for example, is shown in the same dress in The Swing and dancing in the Bal du moulin de la Galette, and Renoir and Monet both painted Monet’s wife Camille in a blue robe/tea gown. And, as seen in Tuesday’s ‘Rate the …