Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Mourning dress with transforming bodice by Daubricourt, NY, ca 1905 New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
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 evening dress, 1823-25 Scotland, the Victoria & Albert Museum
This black velvet evening dress was worn Jane Johnstone (1803-1847), niece of William Jardine founder of Hong Kong merchants Jardine, Matheson & Co.
The wide neckline and short sleeves of the dress are typical of fashionable evening wear of the mid 1820s. Although it retains remnants of the high-waisted, neo-classical shape popular at the beginning of the century, its construction shows the move towards the lower waists and fuller skirts of the 1850s. The use of velvet demonstrates the trend for more sumptuous fabrics after the dominance of cotton and muslin in the previous two decades.
The death of Princess Charlotte, the only child of George IV, in childbirth in 1817 plunged the whole country into mourning and set the high standards for mourning dress of this period. Fabrics such as silk and velvet were too shiny to be worn for the first stages of mourning, however, official mourning guidelines issued by the Lord Chamberlain decreed that black velvets and silks were permissible in the third and final stage. This dress would have been worn with an evening turban, long gloves and a pelisse cloak, often lined with chinchilla fur. It is likely that it was a gift from William Jardine and was worn when mourning the death of Jane Johnstone’s grandmother, Elizabeth Johnstone who died in 1825.
Evening mantle from Le Bon Marché department store, 1900 France, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Emerald green evening mantle with black jet beading and diamante trim, cream chiffon and lace lining. Labeled: “Au Bon Marché, Maison A. Boucicaut, 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”
Men’s formal suit, 1770’s France, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Coat: purple silk satin embroidered with polychrome silk yarns in chain stitch in floral motif at front line, vents, collar, cuffs pockets and flaps, buttons; stand-up collar, round cuffs with three buttons, padded upper chest, white silk satin lining. Breeches: purple silk satin, small fall, two fob and side pockets, brace buttons, embroidered knee bands and buttons, white fustian lining.
Formal dress, 1770’s France (made of Chinese silk), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Louis XVI-style formal dress and petticoat of Chinese white silk with polychrome painted serpentine floral motifs. Robe: round neckline trimmed with pleated ruffle and cording, fitted bodice, sack (Watteau) back with two panels of pleats, elbow length fitted sleeves with double asymmetrical ruffles trimmed as neckline, moderate panier accomodating skirt with fullness pleated over pnaier into V-front natural waistline, front panels trimmed with ruffled ruching and corded trim; white linen bodice and sleeve linings. Underskirt: appliqued ruffled ruching on front, drawstrings at waist. 3 trimmed bows. Panel of same fabric. (Cf. 43.1633)