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 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.

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.

charlestonmuseum:

Purple wool, velvet and lace two-piece Worth dress, c. 1890. The period was defined by the well-corseted waist, huge gigot or leg-of-mutton sleeves, high collar and long, full but smooth skirt. Tailoring was featured as was elaborate trimming with lace and braid. This outfit has a matching capelet.

Bearing a signature label from “C. Worth / Paris,” this gown was from the couture house of Charles Frederick Worth. The English-born designer opened his own 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.

Many beautiful couture garments came to The Charleston Museum from Gertrude Sanford Legendre, whose grandmothers were part of the Sanford (of Sanford, Florida) wealth and notoriety. This dress was worn by Sarah Jane Cochrane Sanford (Mrs. Stephen Sanford).

Want to see more 19th century dresses from our collection? Join us for a curator-led 19th Century Fashion History Tour on Friday, May 27th at 2:00!

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

charlestonmuseum:

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

Evening dress by House of Worth, ca 1910 Paris
Evening dress by Worth, ca 1905 Paris
Evening dress by House of Worth, ca 1905 Paris
This sold in 2004 for $13,145!  The estimate was “only” $5,000-$7,000.  I’d like to know where it is now and if the owner has any better pictures of it.

Evening dress by House of Worth, ca 1905 Paris

This sold in 2004 for $13,145!  The estimate was “only” $5,000-$7,000.  I’d like to know where it is now and if the owner has any better pictures of it.

Bodice by Worth, 1880-85 Paris, Shelburne Museum
Wouldn’t you love to be able to have seen the whole dress?  I wonder if the rest of it is still out there?

Bodice by Worth, 1880-85 Paris, Shelburne Museum

Wouldn’t you love to be able to have seen the whole dress?  I wonder if the rest of it is still out there?

Evening coat by Worth, 1890 Paris, Shelburne Museum
I usually love anything by Worth (like a lot of you, it seems), but this one?  Maybe it’s just the picture, but idk.  Like eatoncrow said, the pattern makes it look like it’s covered in leeches.

Evening coat by Worth, 1890 Paris, Shelburne Museum

I usually love anything by Worth (like a lot of you, it seems), but this one?  Maybe it’s just the picture, but idk.  Like eatoncrow said, the pattern makes it look like it’s covered in leeches.

charlestonmuseum:

 

Black velvet evening coat with beaded ornamentation, designed by the couture House of Worth in Paris, c. 1912. It was worn by Ethel Sanford (1873-1924), wife of carpet industrialist, John Sanford of Amsterdam, NY and daughter of diplomat and businessman, Henry Shelton Sanford of Sanford, FL.

This evening coat was donated to the museum by Ethel’s daughter, Gertrude Sanford Legendre. The Charleston Museum has been so very fortunate to receive many exquisite garments and accessories from Mrs. Legendre’s family collection. For more information on Gertrude Legendre, please visit this previous Textile Tuesday posting.

This piece is currently on exhibit in Coat Check. Come see it in person; the photos do not begin to do this elegant garment justice!

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

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