Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Beauty in riding habits. Late 1880s
She is exquisite!
Riding habits were constructed with a feminine silhouette, but were given such masculine details as buttons, cuffs and jacket lapels. A formal men’s hat, such as the top hat shown here, was worn in Victorian times (and later) - sometimes with a veil on the back.
The tradition of menswear in riding habits is an old one. In 1666, a young Samuel Pepys wrote:
Walking in the galleries at White Hall, I find the Ladies of Honour dressed in their riding garbs, with coats and doublets with deep skirts, just, for all the world, like mine; and buttoned their doublets up to the breast, with periwigs under their hats; so that, only for a long petticoat dragging under their men’s coats, nobody could take them for women in any point whatever; which was an odde sight, and a sight did not please me.
They were often trained or longer on one side of the skirt so as to protect modesty while riding sidesaddle.
Silk faille and velvet brocade dress, late 1880s. This fashionable dress, marked Worth / Rue de la Paix / Paris demonstrates the luxurious fabrics and styling used by the couture house of Worth. It was worn by the donor’s mother, Ethel Sanford (1873-1924), the wife of New York carpet magnate, Henry Sanford. Gift of Gertrude Sanford Legendre in 1979
Charles Frederick Worth was an English-born designer who opened his own couture firm in Paris in 1858 and soon rose to haute stature, creating fashionable garments for Empress Eugénie and other titled and wealthy women. Worth established the custom of sewing branded labels into his creations, was the first designer to show his garments on live models, and sold his designs to his customers rather than letting them dictate the design. All of this earned him the moniker, Father of Haute Couture. He was immensely popular with wealthy Americans as well as European royalty and aristocrats. Many clients travelled to Paris to purchase an entire wardrobe from the House of Worth.
This gown is currently on exhibit in Charleston Couture.
TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection. Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday