Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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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.
"Bunch of sweet peas" fancy dress, 1896 England, Fancy Dresses Described by Ardern Holt
(See Illustration No. 42.) The skirt of the rasse terre length, is made of white satin, and so is the full bodice, both entirely covered with sweet-pea stalks, tied in a bunch at the side, to form the girdle. The flowers border the top of the bodice and constitute the sleeves, and a pretty satin hat is fashioned after the form of the flower. Long gloves are ruffled on the arm, sweet peas figure on the fan, and black shoes and white silk stockings complete the costume.
New Woman fancy dress, 1896 England, Fancy Dresses Described by Ardern Holt
(See Illustration, Fig. 29.) She wears a cloth tailor-made gown, and her bicycle is pourtrayed in front of it, together with the Sporting Times and her golf club; she carries her betting book and her latch-key at her side, her gun is slung across her shoulder, and her pretty Tam o’ Shanter is surmounted by a bicycle lamp. She has gaiters to her patent leather shoes, and is armed at all points for conquest.
This girl CAN. NOT. BE. STOPPED!!
Edward IV period costume, 1896 England, Fancy Dresses Described by Ardern Holt
(1461-1883) The period is illustrated in Fig. 12 by a simple satin gown with revers of contrasting color, such as ruby with light pink; the head-dress of ruby velvet richly embroidered and jeweled. A veil of lisse depending from each point and floating at the back. The steeple-chase head-dresses were the particular feature of the day. They are described as rolls of linen pointed like steeples, half an ell high, some having a wing at the side called butterflies; the cap was covered with lawn, which fell to the ground, and was tucked under the arm; many chains about the neck; velvet, silk, damask cloth of gold, costly furs, and striped materials, all worn. The period was illustrated in the Health Exhibition of 1884 by a female figure taken from the King Rene Paris Library. The skirt divided in two down the centre, with gold braid, each half subdivided into divisions of pink, or dark blue, gold or white satin, some having diagonal heraldic emblazoning in gold; gold belt round the waist where bodice ends; white chemisette with an upright plaiting at neck, and gold necklet; sleeves of pink satin, bordered with gold, tight blue ones beneath, forming a point on either side of the hand; stomacher of white satin crossed with gold; steeple head-dress in gold color, distended with wire, long veil to feet.
Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter fancy dress, 1906, Masquerades, Tableaux and Drills (Butterick)
Spring: Gown of daffodil silk embroidered in white. Full front of white China silk. Elbow sleeves decorated with roses; wears a wreath of same flowers. Large butterfly on corsage.
Summer: Frock of flowered organdy, trimmed with borders of small sprays of natural flowers. Large straw hat tied under the chin. Carries a basket of flowers.
Autumn: Skirt of white serge, border of grapes and leaves. Skirt-yoke and bodice of leaves; sleeves and drapery of white chiffon. White hat. Carries sickle on a chain and wheat in the hand.
Winter: Gown of figured white mohair trimmed with bands and balls of swan’s down. White tucked-silk tucker and cord frogs. Carries a fur muff. Skates may also be carried.
I wouldn’t recommend the sickle and ice skates.
Witch fancy dress, 1887 England, Fancy Dresses Described by Ardern Holt
(See Hubbard, Mother; Macbeth, and Coloured Illustration, Plate XV.) Short quilted skirt of red satin, with cats and lizards in black velvet; gold satin panier tunic; black velvet bodice laced over an old-gold crêpe bodice; small cat on right shoulder, a broom in the hand, with owl; tall pointed velvet cap; shoes with buckles.
Monte Carlo fancy dress, 1887 England, Fancy Dresses Described by Ardern Holt
Dress, half red satin, half black velvet and lace; one shoe red, one black; short skirt fringed with coins, and trimmed with cards; pointed coronet of red satin, with aigrette of cards on shoulder; croupier’s rake carried in hand; and Rouge et Noir. (See Coloured Illustration, Plate XI.)
Hornet fancy dress, 1887 England, Fancy Dresses Described by Ardern Holt
Short black or brown dress of velvet or satin; boots to match; tunic pointed back and front, with gold stripes; satin bodice of black or brown with gold gauze wings; cap of velvet with eyes and antennæ of insect. (See Coloured Illustration, No. VII.)
Esmeralda fancy dress, 1887 England, Fancy Dresses Described by Ardern Holt
A rich gipsy dress in yellow, black, and scarlet satin, made short, trimmed with coins and gold braid; a sash of gold tissue tied about the hips, a tambourine carried in hand; bracelets above and below elbow, united by coins; stay-bodice with coins and gold braid; gold net with sequins; ornaments, sequins. Sometimes (as in Coloured Illustration No. V.) the skirt is red, trimmed with gold, and the bodice takes the form of a loose black jacket, with full yellow vest of soft silk.
Lady Evelyn Cavendish, later Duchess of Devonshire (1870-1960), as a Lady at the Court of the Empress Maria Theresa [1745-65], at the Devonshire House Diamond Jubilee Ball, 1897 London
The Devonshire House Ball was one of the most splendid celebrations of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. In 1892 the 8th Duke of Devonshire married the widowed Duchess of Manchester, Louise von Alten, whom he had known for many years. The ‘Double Duchess’ was a famous hostess and Devonshire House as well as Chatsworth became the focus of entertainments on a scale that had not been seen since the 6th Duke’s time. Those invited to the Diamond Jubilee Ball came in full fancy dress. The Duchess was magnificent as the Queen Zenobia of Palmyra, with a dress to match. The Duke was, rather unexpectedly, the Emperor Charles V, and his young cousin and eventual successor Victor Cavendish was also in 16th -century dress as one of Holbein’s ‘Ambassadors’.