Evening ensemble, Marguerite Robes (Paris), c1865. Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
I have a most fabulous Parisian evening ensemble from 1865 behind the twelfth window of my advent calendar. In a period when dresses could be massively expensive, ordering a multi purpose ensemble piece like this with different bodices and perhaps an extra overskirt could be a really thrifty and yet still chic way of making sure that your money went even further.
In fact, it’s just struck me that I think this very dress makes an appearance in the book I am reading at the moment: Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger, in which the main character Sophronia has just been gifted a green gauzy evening confection very much like this one. How pleasing.
I’m still ill and have been ploughing my way through the costume dramas on Netflix because I haven’t got the energy for much else right now. Yesterday’s dose of bonnets and woe was provided by the 2006 version of Jane Eyre, with Toby Stephens being a rather Byronic Rochester and Jane, as usual, being much prettier than Charlotte Brontë had intended she should be. This isn’t a Jane dress though, obviously, but I can definitely imagine Blanche Ingram appearing in the gallery at Thornfield Hall in this – can’t you?
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