duchess of portland

Another image I have adored since I got a library card. I have the collated version of the book this was in, but this doesn’t appear in it. This is from the Visual History series of costume books.

Basically she just has this incredible gown and expression of total confidence that she absolutely nails it.

Clearly she had a thing for this collar as she wears another it in a portrait by Sargent! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winifred_Cavendish-Bentinck,_Duchess_of_Portland

The nineteenth century

by Foster, Vanda
Publication date 1984Topics Costume
Publisher London : Batsford
Collection printdisabledinlibraryinternetarchivebookschina
Digitizing sponsor Kahle/Austin Foundation
Contributor Internet Archive
Language English
Full catalog record MARCXML

mary of teck

I have had a poor photocopy of this image for a very long time. I love this particular style so very much and unusually for me I forgot to source it. But this is a style I have just loved so much. The heavy lace, the pleated and double neckline. I keep looking for more photos of this sitting.

But I remembered it was a book that included royal wedding fashions. And this is the book that has a selection I haven’t seen since.

A hundred years of royal style

by McDowell, Colin
Publication date 1985
Topics Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain, 1926-QueensCostumeCostume
Publisher London : Muller, Blond & White
Collection printdisabledinlibraryinternetarchivebooksamericana
Digitizing sponsor Internet Archive
Contributor Internet Archive
Language EnglishBibliography: p. 186-188
Full catalog record MARCXML

lillie langtry and worth- part 2

Some time ago I bought a copy of People and Pearls which included a very large two page photo of Lillie reclining on a settee and I thought oh yes that dress.. nope. It’s not the same dress as appears in in Victorian and Edwardian Fashion A Photographic Survey as I thought but is a later dress but also by Lafayette.

This gown is of the same type as the infamous ironwork dress by the House of Worth. Here though the velvet is in an open and stylised “palmette” (as opposed to another velvet used in house which was a densely filled palmette style.)

These gowns often have the pattern mirrored around diagonal seams from waist to side seam and often the front is likewise mirrored and cut on the diagonal.

http://lafayette.org.uk/lan2194.html

The bodice appears to fasten up the front and the front overlaps to her right side (our left) and closes under her arm.

http://lafayette.org.uk/lan2194.html

The skirt appears to close at the CF line with an inverted pleat below knee level.

http://lafayette.org.uk/lan2197a.html
https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portraitZoom/mw56835/Lillie-Langtry?LinkID=mp14015&wPage=1&role=sit&rNo=37

An extreme close up reveals that the bodice shaping is carefully created by centering one of the motiffes at front waist and the fabric carefully cut away from the top of the motiffe allowing the design to be the means of shaping over the bust. 

scan from People and Pearls.

By this stage many of Lillie’s bodices seem to be of a very similar shape, very conical and quite flat. This shape seems to also repeat in House of Worth bodices of the same sort of date range.

The pearl swags are repeated under her arm to the back of the bodice.

This gown was worn by Lillie as Mrs. Trevelyan in The Degenerates. Her gowns are described as: 

Mrs. Langtry in flesh-colored satin with sapphires, Mrs, Langtry in pale-blue satin with diamonds in dazzling array, Mrs, Langtry in white v/ith pearls,…

MRS. LILY LANGTRY’S COSTUMES FOR THE STAGE, by, ROSE LEE HEAD, B.A. 
https://ttu-ir.tdl.org/ttu-ir/bitstream/handle/2346/22475/31295010288347.pdf

There are hand coloured photos of Lillie and one from this set has been tinted blue.

This fabric is also to be found in an extant House of Worth gown at the Metropolitan Museum of art:

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/81751?who=Worth,+House+of$House+of+Worth&pg=7&rpp=20&pos=133

Tassinari & Chatel supplied Worth with many velvets in different colourways and it is likely this is a different colourway as there are some differences in how the pattern is handled in each example.

lillie langtry and worth- part 1

As per my prior post about Sarah Bernhardt I could not but help but have Lillie well represented in the research materials I collected on historic dress.

As a model and as an actress she appeared in paintings by Millais and in photographs.

One of my favourite ensembles she wore just recently came back to attention in House of Worth 1858-1952.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lillie_Langtry_by_Napoleon_Sarony,_1882.jpg
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3b24627/
https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47df-1088-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47df-1089-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47df-108a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47df-1085-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47df-108b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47df-108c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

magaret audley in high resolution

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.

https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/margaret-duchess-of-norfolk/bAHhU8C_AFAgZw

Maraget Audley, Hans Eworth

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.

 

rock the frock-Alexandra Fedorovna COurt gown

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.

http://www.hermitage.guide/costume/costume1.html#

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

∙ Court costume of the XVIII – early XX century
∙ Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicholas II

artificial pearls, silk threads.
Leaf: back length 39.0;
skirt: the length is 103.0;
Train:length 300,0
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;
Train:length 340,0
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

∙ Court costume of the XVIII – early XX century
∙ Empress Maria Feodorovna, the wife of Alexander III

Silk, tulle, metallic thread, artificial flowers
Leaf: back length 32.0; skirt: length 140,0;

length 320,0
Post. in 1941 from the GME
Inv. № ERT-8612 а-в

 

Dress the court ceremonial mourning dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna
Russia, St. Petersburg. 1894
Workshop of A. Ivanova

∙ Court costume of the XVIII – early XX century
∙ Empress Maria Feodorovna, the wife of Alexander III

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.

correct shape or trick of the eye?

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:

http://www.victorianbridalmuseum.com/about/index5.phtml

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.

seeing double- are these both worth?

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Left & right: 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.

 

19thc doppelganger…

Never realised but yeah. Virginia Oldoini, Comtesse de Castiglione...

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.

ooooh sunburst beading

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).