Rose silk faille dress, 1870s. Labeled Mme Gabrielle / Robes & Confections / 205 Rue St. Honoré, this elegant creation was designed by one of the premier couturiers of the 1860s and 1870s. The floral embroidery ornaments the bodice and the skirt, with its bustle and train. It was most likely worn by Gertrude Ellen Dupuy (1841-1902) who married Henry Shelton Sanford in 1864, both of wealthy American families. Gertrude was born in Philadelphia; they married in Paris and then lived in Brussels for a time. The dress was given to the museum in 1979 by her granddaughter, Gertrude Sanford Legendre.
A few weeks ago, we shared another Mme Gabrielle dress, also from the 1870s. The one today is perhaps even more luscious, adorned with magnificent floral embroidery. Parisian designers used embroidery ateliers or workshops to complete this kind of work, designed specifically to fit the cut of the gown. The bodice has 3/4 sleeves and a squared neckline, trimmed with white net lace. The buttons are covered to match the dress. It is lined with white silk and has encased stays, silk covered “bust improvers” and an inside waistband that bears the maker’s name and address. The long flowing skirt has a pleated front panel of cream satin; the back fits over a bustle and extends into a fairly long train, reinforced with pleated, stiffened gauze.
This dress came to the museum with a few extra pieces. Two are very obviously belts – one appears to have been cut from another piece that we just can’t figure out. It’s an odd rectangle, but is finished nicely (except for the cut-out) and even has two weights sewn into the hem. Any suggestions? The other piece is large and embroidered – could it be an alternate front skirt panel? Perhaps Mrs. Sanford thought it was too much and switched it out for the pleated satin. Email us at email@example.com if you have a good idea!
TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection. Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our 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
My suspicion is that the extra piece is some sort of peplum, but it’s hard to tell from here.
Photo with 8 notes
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Photo with 3 notes
Young Officer in a Zebra Coat, calling someone to give an account of his services. - Galerie des Modes, 61e Cahier, 5e Figure
Photo with 3 notes
The young Zuma in a Redingote closed with Buttons à l’Anglaise and in a Cap à la Courvil. - Galerie des Modes, 61e Cahier, 4e Figure
I have to say, I am rather surprised by the number of comments I have been seeing on my posts with regards to spiral lacing. While I considered this to be a well-known historical technique, it appears that I may be mistaken.
Spiral, of “offset” lacing can be seen in both extant clothing pieces and artwork from the time period. In fact I would argue that it is MORE accurate than the traditional X lacing for pre-17th century garments.
Offset lacing holes on an extant corset front from the 1600’s-1700’s Rocamora Collection, Barcelona
Jen Thompson of A Festive Attyre has done an excellent write-up on both the history and math of spiral lacing, which provides more historical examples.
For more information on clothing construction in general from this time period I highly recommend the Tudor Tailor by Ninya Mikhaila and Jane Malcolm-Davies, experts on 16th century clothing.
So now that we’ve cleared that up, perhaps we can turn the snark to my use of metal grommets in some of my 16th century corsets instead. That IS definitely inaccurate!
There’s such a danger zone between “not knowing much about a subject” and “knowing how much you don’t know”. Unfortunately, that danger zone gets people cocky and snarky.
Spiral lacing is appropriate until the late 1820s, when a more emphatic hourglass figure came into fashion. Cross lacing became the standard and metal eyelets were developed to allow the corset to be pulled tighter and shape the body more strongly.
Photo with 6 notes
Young Lady in a Winter Redingote and a Hat à la Genlis. - Galerie des Modes, 61e Cahier, 3e Figure
Margaret Hamilton-Russell by H. Walter Barnett, 1900s
Ca. 1897, I would say.
High-ranking or wealthy Greek women often wore elaborate diadems and hairnets of gold and gemstones as part of their jewelry. The centerpiece of this intricate openwork diadem is adorned with a large Hercules knot, inspired by the one the hero used to tie the paws of the lion skin he wore. Due to its protective quality, it also became important in marriage symbolism and was a common motif for women’s jewelry of the Hellenistic period, and in royal Macedonian art more generally. The Roman author Pliny (AD 23-79) even attributed healing qualities to the Hercules knot. This elaborate example is decorated with a miniature snake on each of the four edges, twelve gold rosettes, and two long tassels, which would be placed on the forehead.
This headdress was likely once worn by the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908), the effective ruler of China during the later years of the Qing Dynasty. It is an exquisite example of Chinese decoration and the symbolism used to express one’s rank. The small phoenixes emerging from the surface represent the empress, while the countless pearls and gemstones mark this piece as something special for the adornment of the highest-ranking woman in Chinese society.
A portrait painted of Alexandra of Denmark in 1864 by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, while she was still Princess of Wales, compared to a photograph of her taken at around the same time.
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