rock the frock

seeing double- are these both worth?

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Left &┬áright: Woman’s Evening Dress: Bodice and Skirt (1978-2-1a,b and 1978-2-2a,b)

Left vs right: Worth vs Artist/maker unknown, American.

Left & vs right: Worn by Mrs. Ernest Fenollosa

These are much too closely matched to be coincidence and were worn by the same woman.

Nearly identical in cut, the brocade gown doesn’t appear to have the same fit in the bodice. And that is what really marks a Worth garment. The curve at the side of the waist and generaly sweep feels very Worth. As well as the colours and fabrics.

This is part of my research as I try and identify when Worth started using very flared panels in skirts. These do feel mid to late 1880s. The gores are not heavily angled and there is a bit of bulk of fabric right around the front of the hips as well as sides, and obviously the bustle. But it is the slightly boxy shape of the front that makes these match perfectly to fashion plates.

I do know this flat boxy front was still in use in paterns by 1894! And that is the year we see three distinct skirt patterns.