Ghost
Woman’s dress in two parts by Jean-Philippe Worth, 1896 Paris, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Midnight blue/black velvet 2-pc. dress (possibly for mourning) with large puffed-sleeve bodice and trained skirt

Woman’s dress in two parts by Jean-Philippe Worth, 1896 Paris, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Midnight blue/black velvet 2-pc. dress (possibly for mourning) with large puffed-sleeve bodice and trained skirt

Mourning dress by Charlotte Duclos, ca 1910 France, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
I usually don’t like mourning dresses (you weren’t supposed to, anyway), but the beading pattern on this one is stunning.

The elaborate but subtle beading on this mourning dress would have shimmered when new. The asymmetry of the charmeuse panel is indicative of the high fashion of the period. An example of extremely chic mourning attire for the evening, it features an element of subtle exposure: the beaded underpanel hidden by the charmeuse would have been revealed with the movement of the wearer.

Mourning dress by Charlotte Duclos, ca 1910 France, the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I usually don’t like mourning dresses (you weren’t supposed to, anyway), but the beading pattern on this one is stunning.

The elaborate but subtle beading on this mourning dress would have shimmered when new. The asymmetry of the charmeuse panel is indicative of the high fashion of the period. An example of extremely chic mourning attire for the evening, it features an element of subtle exposure: the beaded underpanel hidden by the charmeuse would have been revealed with the movement of the wearer.

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(Source: metmuseum.org)

Mourning coat by House of Worth, 1907 Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jean-Philippe Worth began as an assistant to his father, Charles Frederick Worth, in 1875. Gradually he was allowed to create his own designs and when his father died in 1895, he became the lead designer for the house. He was praised for making elaborate artistic gowns with intricate trimmings on unique textiles, much like his father had before him. Although the House of Worth was still favored by royalty and celebrities through the turn of the century, their styles were no longer the forefront of French fashion after 1900. Around 1910 Jean-Philippe limited his design work to important orders and hired his nephew, Jean-Charles Worth, as the new lead designer before leaving the company entirely after World War I.The House of Worth, alongside other couturiers of the time, would produce mourning attire upon request for its regular customers. Mourning was an important feature through the Edwardian period as it had been for the previous half century. Black mourning dress reached its peak during the reign of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) of the United Kingdom in the second half of the 19th century. Queen Victoria wore mourning from the death of her husband, Prince Albert (1819-1861), until her own death. With these standards in place, it was considered a social requisite to don black from anywhere between three months to two and a half years while grieving for a loved one or monarch. The stringent social custom existed for all classes and was available at all price points. Those who could not afford the change of dress often altered and dyed their regular garments black. The amount of black to be worn was dictated by several different phases of mourning; full mourning ensembles were solid black while half mourning allowed the wearer to add a small amount of white or purple. Haute couture mourning garments, such as this one, are rare but show the importance of mourning in every echelon of society. The heavy fringe and lace appliqué create an interesting texture on the plain black bengaline, which was commonly used for mourning attire.

Mourning coat by House of Worth, 1907 Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jean-Philippe Worth began as an assistant to his father, Charles Frederick Worth, in 1875. Gradually he was allowed to create his own designs and when his father died in 1895, he became the lead designer for the house. He was praised for making elaborate artistic gowns with intricate trimmings on unique textiles, much like his father had before him. Although the House of Worth was still favored by royalty and celebrities through the turn of the century, their styles were no longer the forefront of French fashion after 1900. Around 1910 Jean-Philippe limited his design work to important orders and hired his nephew, Jean-Charles Worth, as the new lead designer before leaving the company entirely after World War I.

The House of Worth, alongside other couturiers of the time, would produce mourning attire upon request for its regular customers. Mourning was an important feature through the Edwardian period as it had been for the previous half century. Black mourning dress reached its peak during the reign of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) of the United Kingdom in the second half of the 19th century. Queen Victoria wore mourning from the death of her husband, Prince Albert (1819-1861), until her own death. With these standards in place, it was considered a social requisite to don black from anywhere between three months to two and a half years while grieving for a loved one or monarch. The stringent social custom existed for all classes and was available at all price points. Those who could not afford the change of dress often altered and dyed their regular garments black. The amount of black to be worn was dictated by several different phases of mourning; full mourning ensembles were solid black while half mourning allowed the wearer to add a small amount of white or purple. Haute couture mourning garments, such as this one, are rare but show the importance of mourning in every echelon of society. The heavy fringe and lace appliqué create an interesting texture on the plain black bengaline, which was commonly used for mourning attire.

Mourning hat by Henri Bendel, ca 1915 US, the Metropolitan Museum of Art

This beautiful and stylish mourning hat from the World War I era was purchased from Henri Bendel, an important maker and importer of luxury goods. Its clean lines and elegant swath of scarf retain their sense of chic today. The single large buckle trim, a popular feature at time, has the weight and presence necessary to stand up to the severe color scheme and contrasting textures. Despite the timeless beauty of its design, this hat would have had a very limited wearability: the fabric of the scarf, a variety of crimped black crepe called “mourning crepe”, was used exclusively for mourning.

Mourning hat by Henri Bendel, ca 1915 US, the Metropolitan Museum of Art

This beautiful and stylish mourning hat from the World War I era was purchased from Henri Bendel, an important maker and importer of luxury goods. Its clean lines and elegant swath of scarf retain their sense of chic today. The single large buckle trim, a popular feature at time, has the weight and presence necessary to stand up to the severe color scheme and contrasting textures. Despite the timeless beauty of its design, this hat would have had a very limited wearability: the fabric of the scarf, a variety of crimped black crepe called “mourning crepe”, was used exclusively for mourning.

(Source: metmuseum.org)

Robe by Liberty of London, ca 1897 London, the Victoria & Albert Museum



Object Type This garment with its full sleeves and long, flowing silhouette owes much of its inspiration to Pre-Raphaelite dress. The gown consists of a flared front panel attached to an open, flowing robe which falls from pleats at the back. The front panel has a patch pocket on the right side which is hidden by the deep plush edging.
Materials & Making The puffed sleeves, wide cuffs and velvet edgings are inspired by plain, loose 16th century gowns. The sunflower and pomegranate motif on the fabric was a recurring design on objects associated with the Aesthetic Movement. The subtle gold and brown tones were popular ‘artistic’ colours used in both dress and furnishing fabrics during the 1890s.
People Pre-Raphaelite painters had clothed their models in plain, loose dresses based on the forms of ‘early Medieval art’. The opening of Liberty’s dress department in 1884 helped popularise the taste for aesthetic dress. The Liberty designs which ranged from aesthetic gowns and children’s artistic dresses to more conventional ‘tea-gowns’ had a wide international appeal among the social elite.
Ownership & Use This type of dress was seen as the healthy and aesthetic alternative to the corseted and constrictive fashions in conventional dress. Before long it was not only those with artistic leanings who chose to wear garments which fit more loosely. By the early 20th century many fashionable dresses had a softer shoulder line and a more natural silhouette.

Robe by Liberty of London, ca 1897 London, the Victoria & Albert Museum

Object Type
This garment with its full sleeves and long, flowing silhouette owes much of its inspiration to Pre-Raphaelite dress. The gown consists of a flared front panel attached to an open, flowing robe which falls from pleats at the back. The front panel has a patch pocket on the right side which is hidden by the deep plush edging.

Materials & Making
The puffed sleeves, wide cuffs and velvet edgings are inspired by plain, loose 16th century gowns. The sunflower and pomegranate motif on the fabric was a recurring design on objects associated with the Aesthetic Movement. The subtle gold and brown tones were popular ‘artistic’ colours used in both dress and furnishing fabrics during the 1890s.

People
Pre-Raphaelite painters had clothed their models in plain, loose dresses based on the forms of ‘early Medieval art’. The opening of Liberty’s dress department in 1884 helped popularise the taste for aesthetic dress. The Liberty designs which ranged from aesthetic gowns and children’s artistic dresses to more conventional ‘tea-gowns’ had a wide international appeal among the social elite.

Ownership & Use
This type of dress was seen as the healthy and aesthetic alternative to the corseted and constrictive fashions in conventional dress. Before long it was not only those with artistic leanings who chose to wear garments which fit more loosely. By the early 20th century many fashionable dresses had a softer shoulder line and a more natural silhouette.

Evening coat by Liberty & Co, 1900-25 London, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Pink satin evening coat or wrap, cut in kimono style; collar and cuffs of white satin embroidered with pink silk in conventionalized floral design; lined with white satin. Front trimmed with white satin buttons wrapped with pink thread and pink tassels. Label: “Liberty and Co., London and Paris”

Evening coat by Liberty & Co, 1900-25 London, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Pink satin evening coat or wrap, cut in kimono style; collar and cuffs of white satin embroidered with pink silk in conventionalized floral design; lined with white satin. Front trimmed with white satin buttons wrapped with pink thread and pink tassels. Label: “Liberty and Co., London and Paris”

Women’s dressing gown by Iida Takashimaya, ca 1900 Japan (Kyoto, for the Western market), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Pink silk taffeta dressing gown in kimono style with embroidered naturalistic chrysanthemums and butterflies in polychrome silks. Silk plain weave lining, padded hem and pleat in back of robe. Full sleeves gathered at shoulders and trimmed with braided silk cord and tassles. Matching sash of pink silk taffeta with double-sided embroidery of chrysanthemums in green brown and pink polychrome silk with knotted silk fringe. Gown labeled: S. Iida “Takashimaya” Silks and Embroideries. Kyoto.

Women’s dressing gown by Iida Takashimaya, ca 1900 Japan (Kyoto, for the Western market), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Pink silk taffeta dressing gown in kimono style with embroidered naturalistic chrysanthemums and butterflies in polychrome silks. Silk plain weave lining, padded hem and pleat in back of robe. Full sleeves gathered at shoulders and trimmed with braided silk cord and tassles. Matching sash of pink silk taffeta with double-sided embroidery of chrysanthemums in green brown and pink polychrome silk with knotted silk fringe. Gown labeled: S. Iida “Takashimaya” Silks and Embroideries. Kyoto.

Louise, Duchess of Devonshire’s ‘Queen of Zenobia’ Ball Gown for the Devonshire House Ball by House of Worth, 1897 Paris (worn in England), Chatsworth


Ball gown with an under-robe of cloth of silver, wrought all over with silver thread and brilliants, and with an over-dress of green and gold shot-silk gauze, embroidered to the waist with green and gold metalwork, decorated with jewels. A long train of turquoise velvet, embroidered in gold to an oriental design, was attached to the shoulders. A bodice of gold cloth and lace was fitted over a whalebone corset into which her waist was tightly laced. The headdress that went with it has not survived, but it can be seen in Lafayette’s photograph.
The dress was made for Louise, Duchess of Devonshire by the House of Worth to wear at the celebrated Diamond Jubilee Ball at Devonshire House. It was a fancy dress ball and Louise attended as Queen Zenobia, the warrior Queen of Palmyra. The Duchess may have got the idea for the theme of the dress from Inigo Jones’s costume designs for Court Masques that are in the drawing collections at Chatsworth.

Unfortunately, the images are really small.

Louise, Duchess of Devonshire’s ‘Queen of Zenobia’ Ball Gown for the Devonshire House Ball by House of Worth, 1897 Paris (worn in England), Chatsworth

Ball gown with an under-robe of cloth of silver, wrought all over with silver thread and brilliants, and with an over-dress of green and gold shot-silk gauze, embroidered to the waist with green and gold metalwork, decorated with jewels. A long train of turquoise velvet, embroidered in gold to an oriental design, was attached to the shoulders. A bodice of gold cloth and lace was fitted over a whalebone corset into which her waist was tightly laced. The headdress that went with it has not survived, but it can be seen in Lafayette’s photograph.

The dress was made for Louise, Duchess of Devonshire by the House of Worth to wear at the celebrated Diamond Jubilee Ball at Devonshire House. It was a fancy dress ball and Louise attended as Queen Zenobia, the warrior Queen of Palmyra. The Duchess may have got the idea for the theme of the dress from Inigo Jones’s costume designs for Court Masques that are in the drawing collections at Chatsworth.

Unfortunately, the images are really small.

Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire’s Peeress’s Robes, worn at the Coronation of H.M. The Queen in 1953, possibly late 18th century with later alterations, Chatsworth


Cecil Beaton called Deborah ‘the most beautiful of all’ the peeresses in this off-the-shoulder robe, believed to have been reworked from an original worn by Georgiana, wife of the 5th Duke of Devonshire. In her memoirs, Deborah describes how she came to wear it:
"…Moucher [Mary Devonshire] was to have the robes that had been carefully put away by Granny Evie in 1937 after King George VI’s coronation. Chatsworth, as always, came to the rescue. There were a number of tin boxes…In the vain hope of finding something for me, we started going through them and, lo and behold, from beneath a ton of tissue paper in the box that had held Moucher’s, appeared a second crimson peeress’s robe. The velvet is of exceptional quality, so soft your fingers hardly know they’re touching it, and of such pure brilliant crimson as to make you blink." Deborah Devonshire, Wait for me! (John Murray, 2010)

Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire’s Peeress’s Robes, worn at the Coronation of H.M. The Queen in 1953, possibly late 18th century with later alterations, Chatsworth

Cecil Beaton called Deborah ‘the most beautiful of all’ the peeresses in this off-the-shoulder robe, believed to have been reworked from an original worn by Georgiana, wife of the 5th Duke of Devonshire. In her memoirs, Deborah describes how she came to wear it:

"…Moucher [Mary Devonshire] was to have the robes that had been carefully put away by Granny Evie in 1937 after King George VI’s coronation. Chatsworth, as always, came to the rescue. There were a number of tin boxes…In the vain hope of finding something for me, we started going through them and, lo and behold, from beneath a ton of tissue paper in the box that had held Moucher’s, appeared a second crimson peeress’s robe. The velvet is of exceptional quality, so soft your fingers hardly know they’re touching it, and of such pure brilliant crimson as to make you blink."
Deborah Devonshire, Wait for me! (John Murray, 2010)

(Left) Cocktail dress by Victor Steibel, late 1950’s London - Bust is 86cm/34in, about a size 8 UK/4 US.
(Right) Evening dress by Miss Ford, ca 1957 London - Bust is 86cm/34in, waist is 61cm/24in, about a size 8 UK/4 US.
Miss Ford was a little known designer who designed clothing for Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret throughout their early lives.
Click to go to the absentee bidding page.  This Kerry Taylor auction will end October 16th at 2:00 PM GMT (9:00 AM EST).  You will need to register to bid ahead of time.

(Left) Cocktail dress by Victor Steibel, late 1950’s London - Bust is 86cm/34in, about a size 8 UK/4 US.

(Right) Evening dress by Miss Ford, ca 1957 London - Bust is 86cm/34in, waist is 61cm/24in, about a size 8 UK/4 US.

Miss Ford was a little known designer who designed clothing for Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret throughout their early lives.

Click to go to the absentee bidding page.  This Kerry Taylor auction will end October 16th at 2:00 PM GMT (9:00 AM EST).  You will need to register to bid ahead of time.

Day dress, possibly by Jean Patou, 1935 France - Bust is 86-92cm/34-36in, about a size 8-12 UK/4-8 US.
Click to go to the absentee bidding page.  This Kerry Taylor auction will end October 16th at 2:00 PM GMT (9:00 AM EST).  You will need to register to bid ahead of time.

Day dress, possibly by Jean Patou, 1935 France - Bust is 86-92cm/34-36in, about a size 8-12 UK/4-8 US.

Click to go to the absentee bidding page.  This Kerry Taylor auction will end October 16th at 2:00 PM GMT (9:00 AM EST).  You will need to register to bid ahead of time.

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