All posts tagged: tea gowns

Rate the Dress: a paisley tea gown

Last week’s rate the dress was a probably-by Callot Soeurs gown in what-do-we-call-this-bronze-blush-champagne with intricate embroidery.  A few people weren’t so enthusiastic, but most of you loved the dress – so much so it’s going to get a bit polygamous, because a number of us are in line to marry it.  (me too!).  The final rating was 9.3 out of 10. I’m currently obsessing over paisley, because I’m giving a talk on Paisley at CoCo, so this week’s Rate the Dress is on-theme.  In fact, it manages to combine paisley with another one of my obsessions: tea gowns. This tea gown is an example of a mid-century paisley shawl which has been re-made into a fitted garment.  This practice was very common from the late 1870s onwards, as shawls fell out of fashion as bustles came in, but the actual shawl fabric was still valued. Though paisley shawls of the 1860s were ENORMOUS, they still don’t contain enough fabric to make a full trained tea gown, so the dressmaker has combined the wool shawl with …

Rate the Dress: A tea gown goes classical

Apologies for the belated Rate the Dress post: sometimes life gets in the way of blogging! Last week I showed you Anna of Austria, in the full glory of 16th century continental fashions.  Her score of 7.7 out of 10, while very good for the 1570s, is typical of how much we struggle with the periods fashions. This week’s Rate the Dress pick is in total contrast to the dark colours, heavy fabrics, and restricting shapes of Anna’s ensemble. This 1910s ensemble in loose, floating silks carries on the tea gown’s tradition of elegant deshabillé for wearing at intimate gatherings at home. The loose, draping underdress evokes Grecian chitons, and cranks up the risqué potential of the tea gown to the maximum with fully exposed arms and shoulders. While the gowns classical influences are clear, the elaborate lace embellishments are typical of the elaborate decorations popular in evening fashions at the time. For a little warmth, or a bit more modesty, an over-robe adds layers and modesty to the dress. One of the things that I find …

The Turkish tea robe at the Honolulu Museum of Art

A bit back I showed you a taster of the lovely textiles that I was lucky enough to see in the textile store at the Honolulu Museum of Art, and promised to show more images and tell you about them. Today, let’s look at an intriguing garment made in Turkey: This garment is a robe of silk velvet in a rich burgundy red, heavily ornamented with scrolling florals in gold.  The gold is still bright and untarnished, indicating that it is real gold, probably made by rolling or wrapping thread in tissue-thin gold leaf. The ornamentation is made in the most intriguing way.  First, paper models in the desired shapes were cut out.  Then, gold thread was wrapped around the paper shapes, completely covering the paper.  Then, the gold-wrapped shapes were sewed down to the garment. Some of the larger flowers must have been padded before wrapping, and are further highlighted by outlines in coiled gold wire, with details are picked out with knots coiled gold. The overall effect is of elaborate, sumptuous satin-stitch embroidery: the …