Dress of the Week – House of Worth 1902

11 June 2013

Evening gown, House of Worth, 1902. Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

There’s no special significance to this week’s dress – it’s just really pretty and very pleasing to the eye, which is what I need on such a damp and miserable day. I have to say that although my taste veers very heavily towards the goth and gloomy, I’m still swooning over this gorgeous pastel silk and lace confection from the House of Worth that some lucky lady wore as an evening dress in around 1902.

Evening gown, House of Worth, 1902. Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

It looks to me like the sort of thing a rich heiress in an Edith Wharton novel would wear on the evening that she knows that she’s going to get a proposal from the man she loves. Or maybe something Cora, Lady Grantham would have worn to a London ball back in the day, although possibly it might be considered a bit ‘young’ for her even in 1902.

Evening gown, House of Worth, 1902. Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The silk is actually a very expensive material known as chiné, which was apparently eye wateringly expensive as the pattern was printed on to the warp before the weft was woven. This technique created the lovely and almost Impressionistic blurred effect we have going on here.

Evening gown, House of Worth, 1902. Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

I don’t know about you, but when I look at dresses like this one, it makes me feel like we just don’t make enough effort with our appearance these days…

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