While a lovely friend was working out her costume inspiration, I went looking for decent resolution of images and woah! This did not come up in my google search, and it should, but rather another portrait with a link to the other works by the artist.
I think most historic costumers know this one already, this though is delicious in being able to see stitches. It’s actrually inspiring me to get back to Elizabethan as I could transfer that design almost exactly.
However I already have the Worth skirt I have had to set aside for hand health- not aside aside. Working out a safe way to store it between stitching. Also it is ivory silk satin. I have a dendency to get so far and then get something on projects made of pale silk. And my skin snags it, so basically still working out a Me safe storage and working space.
But it is inspiring, If not as a direct copy at least to enjoy my own tasks. I find that by imagining working with the materials above that I can imagine the embrodery as a privilege to work- being able to handle the fabric and threads.
So I just need to apply that inspiration to what I already have. For I have some lovely, lovely fabric and threads to work with as well.
In fact even with my mix of threads for my pink Cleves dress I enjoyed sewing the gown at the event. I may have to undo some (the bodice is a smidge too big- very stretchy fabric- and my sleeves should really go in the other way around.
While looking for WIP photos I’m also finding inspiration photos and now I am really inspired by a few pearled garments.
Finding the original source of this is proving very difficult (the photo owner is in there but where she posted it is not) but there is a great interactive exhibit! Huge photos definitely worth the effort of being stuck in the site and no static pages.
Right click to translate to English (or your own) click Catalogue> Women’s Suit> Court Costume then the dress is after the royal blue velvet. I’ve grabbed info for my favourites after sharing info about this gown 🙂
Dress by the court ceremonial of the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna
Russia, St. Petersburg. The end of XIX – beginning of XX century.
Workshop O. N. Bulbenkova
artificial pearls, silk threads.
Leaf: back length 39.0;
skirt: the length is 103.0;
On the strap of the corsage printed with gold Workshop mark: Mrs. OLGA DRESS
S.-Petersburg Sink No. 8
Post. in 1941 from the GME; earlier: in the dressing room of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in the Winter Palace of
Inv. № ЭРТ-13146 а-в
Silver eye, silver thread, silk, beat, sequins, wire, fluff, lace; embroidery Leaf:
back length 33.0; skirt: the length of 169.0;
On the strap of the corsage printed with gold Workshop mark: Mrs. OLGA DRESS
Dress of the court ceremonial Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna
Russia (?). 1860s
Silk crepe with embossed texture, satin, lace, silk ribbons.
Leaf: back length 37.0; skirt: the length of 180,0; loop: length 440,0
At the corsage printed with gold workshop brand: FASHION AND DRESSES / AT T. IVANOVOY / S. PETERBURGH
Post. in 1941 from the GME; earlier: in the Anichkov Palace
inv. № ERT-9429 а-в
Dress the court ceremonial
Russia, St. Petersburg. The end of XIX – beginning of XX century.
Workshop of Ivanovs
Velvet, satin, metal thread, beat, gimp, silver plates; embroidery
Leaf: back length 34,0; skirt: the length is 150,0; loop:length 330.0
On the tape of the corsage printed with gold the workshop brand: on the sides – an image of two exhibition medals, a shield of arms
and an inscription – Supplier / courtyard of His
Imperial Majesty Ivanovs / Fashion
and dresses. Saint-Petersburg / Fontanka
at Chernyshova Bridge # 68-7, sq. M. 16. Phone K-2234
Post. in 1941 from the GME
Inv. № ЭРТ-13132 а-в
but yes, photo sorting because there is quite a backlog of photos to sort and lots more to try and locate.
I am also finding it hard to trust all staged images, as there is a tendency to pouff out draped fabrics when they should fold inwards. I wonder how many people remember the infamous natural form pattern?
The Simplicity 4244 pattern with the paniers turned out and padded?
The original has the area padded out in display, though not turned inside out:
I would love to see this updated, polonaise style princesse dresses are a staple in the pattern books of the era that it’s nice to see real examples whenever possible. Seriously, every book has at least one princess and at least one is really a polonaise.
And if the Met can have a garment padded in inverse to what would be expected, then yes it’s very easy to to!
Centraal Museum too! (but this is another good example of the mid-late 1880s shape to the skirt, the pouffing over the hips and of the little puff over the bustle.. not really feeling it. But yeah, that’s another Sunburst reference!)
This is simply more a case of feeling too full at the front hip. But I have seen more extreme forms of firm support in contemporary photos.
But I was looking at a gown I adore but feels later than the date as well, and I am trying to tease out whether it is staged or original to the gown.
So what is it that makes this feel later than 1875?
Simply put the shoulders. They are very square. Very square indeed and that is not because the mannequin has square shoulders. The sleeve shape also is very angular, another feature of mid to late 1880s patterning.
Compare the shoulders to this very definitely mid 1870s garment:
See the slope of the shoulder, more obvious from the back. The front arm seams are further under the arm than above too. But this is a very well made example of the time so the structure is a bit firmer and so holds a firm line compared to other examples of this decade.
The split and pointed tails of the scaled gown can also be seen right through to early 1890s in Worth garments (see the silvery blue gown also from the met on this page.)
But this is why I am devouring everything I can find about what is absolutely known as far as dates of garments. There are a few garments dated to mid 1880s that have a very gored skirt shape that is, as above, original shaping. Even the above has a mix of gored and flat panels. So it may be that the house was experimenting in shifting fullness around very early. That though is proving difficult.
Anyway if anyone would like to sponso a trip to see the Worth Archives- maybe a month stay to be able to actually go through all documents then maybe my mind would be rested!
I already know the pattern books and periodicals do not show the flared gored skirt shape earlier than the early 1890s. I have gone through every single issue of Der Bazar that has plates and patterns, I have random patterns from other periodical, and of course the cutting books. In fact skirts go extremely boxy before they get pulled to the back and then the hem flares out again. But again Maison Worth was known to anticipate fashion as well as push it in a direction most especially in cut. SO that could apply to shoulders and elbows too…
So yes. Grubby mitts on the archive. Well very well cleaned and gloved mitts.
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.
I think this Queen of Hearts one is the one to do.. I knew of it from one of the hand tinted versions but they idealise her to be blander.
Anyway. Pointy nose, pointy chin, eyes that can be unfocused then too focused… and also determined to only work with photographers who work with her as an artist. Look she’s been treated as self obsessed but really, she wanted the captured image to be reflective of what she wanted to see. Not what someone else wanted.
So obviously one uses silver lined glass beads and the other uses pearls. Of note, fake pearls. Which is very exciting. Beacuse I have vintage fake glass pearls so I suspect they are made the same way- I think it’s an enamel paint over glass.
Anyway notice the other big thing.
The pearls do not have a shadow line. I was originally working from The Opulent Era which includes a close up of the pink gown that shares photo space with the yellow sunburst. And in that the beads are outlined with fine seed beads. But that is not what is going on!
The yellow sunburst apparently has a silver cord laid down and the silver lined beads sewn around that. You can see the couched threads once you look for them but especially on the cloud circle to the inside of the furthermost star. Also metal would explain how the cord stays so crisp as opposed to a silk over cotton core. Compare how firm they appear compared to the known beads and thread. The gown has a lot of shattering of the silk but how soon did the silver corrode? Was it a factor calculated into the making? Or did the gown get stored in a way that wasn’t completely optimised?
So I suspect the same rational I used to decide the pearls were the better option for me played a part in the original. I think the beads alone were not going to give enough definition so the couched silver does that.
I however love the effect of the the corroded metal! I love how it outlines in such a sharp graphic line. So I am really really torn as to just how “accurate” I want to go. I should only couch cord iff I use rocailles but it should also be silver. Also the rocailles are one size while the pearls graduate… will going for a single sized pearl and dark silver cord work? As somthing that could have been done?
But the same can be said of the sequins. I will likely use modern non tarnishing sequins so will that affect how this changes over time?
And now I am remembering why I stalled the last time! My historic gear is rarely a copy. I much prefer to do as was done which is to take a fashion plate or photo of a celebrity and say “I like this, but do this” as is how the pink version came about anyway! But I love so much about the yellow (with hints of pink and green and bright yellow).
I did find a few more examples of a the tablier style covered in beads. But I need to explain what a tablier is.
It means apron. But it is important to understand what an apron in fashion in the natural form and sencond bustle era looked like. It was plain and pulled back. So it’s basically a plain skirt front as opposed to one covered in drapery or rushing etc.
There was some exploration of asymmetry of these overlayers of beaded silk especially when on a delicate fabric.
I adore these oversized pearls on thin silver beaded loops. Some of the other gowns how tassels and loops made from matching pearl beads (see garment immediately to right), but this is quite a statement.
And then we come to the two Sunburst gowns. Worth regularly repeated his designs, with some adjustments based on the new client.
This just happens to be a very obvious copy due to the single large stylised motif across the entire skirt. These just stand out a mile away! These do also make use of cut work and so perhaps represent an early start to the later gown with heavy use of cutwork. They certainly show more in character and line to the vertical plant motifs than the layers of net and beads.
And that seems to have lead to experimentation with full skirt length motifs.
(BTW that shape of the wheat sheaf gown is well represented in other garments Worth created especially in velvet or fabric a la disposition.)
And what can we say about this gown that has not already bean said:
Still no luck tracking down the book so I went looking on Worldcat
So this allowed me to look for a book published between 1970 and 1996 (the year I know I saw it) that is about wedding dresses and probably by a museum. I though Museum of London based on the format I had in my head but well:
Wedding dress : 1740-1970
Author: Madeleine Ginsburg; Victoria and Albert Museum.
Publisher: London : H.M.S.O., 1981.
Edition/Format: Print book : National government publication : English
This sounds like the puppy!!!. And it is still available at the library I know it was from. And I recall the production I was in that caused the book to be at a rehersal:
Trial By Jury! Yes, a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta about a bride and with all her bridesmaids in tow! I then requested a whole lot of other useful book s 🙂
Help. Obsessed. There may have been a Pinterest board created and it may be strictly properly sourced and maybe just updated with a gown that is included in one of the few Lafayette photos to have lots of close views. Such bliss.
I know a lot of people have been inspired by RedThreaded’s Worth gown, but there may be some weird web archiving glitch so here it is for anyone not yet seen! Cynthia’s gown next to the originals!
So while looking for themes and understanding my favourite gowns in context the velvet and satin gowns came up over and over again. So I shall add to this blog post as more pop up, and I wrestle with WP layouts.
I think this may be my favourite of all the gowns Worth produced like this. Though that may be because it’s Lily Langtry!
Yes, I often combine my interest in theatre, costume, and stage so of course I have a lovely file archive of Mrs Langrty.
I think my other favourites would have to be these
These next three fascinate me, the high neck of two and the delicate butterflies of the third.
This first one has horizontal bust darts! As well as curved bust seams and a waist seam to get that beautiful shaping of the velvet.
And finally we have the gowns for those slightly more conservative. Which is nice- obviously the gowns caught the eye of many and they wanted a part of what made these gowns so special. No less care, just a slightly less start style!
But all this has been part of my life tidying that has been happening- organising books, papers, digital files. So this has meant reorganising my patterns and WIP and thus my recent flurry of posts.
I’ll be trying to get all my Mina posts from before the website changeover, but that may be a bit difficult!
Highly recommended for the text as it describes the order of sewing and how to. That paragraph on the “bulgarian fold” is really amazing! At least for coming out and stating that the “peacock” style train is impossible to self arrange! Which is something I have trying to get across when getting photos of my gowns with trains- they need a wrangler to look good!
I had only read of this by the term “Myra’s” so finding a copy at all has been fun. This again mainly has plates with front and back views but a few plates stand out, again I love the use of folds and pleats 😉