So I have been as obsessed by the sunburst gown longer than the electric light gown but hey are in fact really interlinked!
After a little clarification that yes there were two Caroline Schermerhorn Astors. One Mrs one Miss and it is Miss Caroline Astor who wore the sunburst probably post marriage to Mr Orme Wilson.
Weirdly despite both ladies being the center of the very richest people at the time there are remarkably few pictures to be found of either.
But some brute searches in google after detangling the two has brought a very few written descriptions of the gowns of both.
So. The 1883 Vanderbilt ball. Ava Vanderbilt got to wear her electric light gown with working battery.
Carrie Astor was in the Star Quadrille. These gowns were intended to be illuminated too.
The story of the missing invitationhas been retold several times. Usually that Mrs Vanderbilt claimed she had no idea Carrie was going.
Exactly how true the whole “I can’t invite you as you haven’t visited me” thing actually was is a bit obscured by lots of colourful retellings.
It is hard to believe though that a formal part of the ball was unplanned. the quadrilles are a part of that formal element and the star quadrille was apparently devised by the hostess herself.
Either way she appeared as a star at this ball after all.
Also of interest is this description of another gown at teh Vanderbilt ball, Light.