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Eighteenth century style radiates from this elegant creation by Maison Worth. From the 1870s Charles Frederick Worth's (1825-1895) fascination with historical dress became an important feature in his designs which he skilfully translated into contemporary couture. He used references from sketches, historical fashion plates and paintings by famous artists including Titian, Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds. The eighteenth century held a particular charm and fabrics, embroidery and open-fronted gowns based on this era became a recurring theme over the ensuing decades.

Here Worth has reinterpreted the 1780s 'redingote' (riding coat) giving it contemporary appeal though clever use of cut, colour, texture and trimming. The 'redingote' was popular for riding and walking dress and was characterised by front-buttoning and a large falling collar with deep revers like a man's great coat. On Worth's garment a double falling collar is just visible through a diaphanous frill cascading over the neck and shoulders. This frill is reminiscent of buffons or other neckwear which would have been worn with the eighteenth century redingote. It also softens the vibrant effects of the pink, evoking Worth's famous 'tulle-clouded' gowns of the 1850s and 60s which diffused textile and cut.

Instead of fastening at the front, the large striped buttons are purely decorative echoing a man's double-breasted coat. The edges of the false jacket reveal a cream silk foundation bodice overlaid with fine pleated silk to complement the neck frill. The large wired bow takes the eye back into the world of the late nineteenth century as this type of sash was a typical feature of fashionable gowns. The construction is also very fin de siècle with its whaleboned lining, shaped panels and emphasis on the narrow waist.

Details

  • Title: Day dress and cape
  • Creator: Worth, Charles Frederick
  • Date Created: 1890/1893
  • Location: Paris
  • Physical Dimensions: Circumference: 24 in waist, Circumference: 32 in bust
  • Provenance: Given by the Comtesse de Tremereuc
  • Medium: Silk, trimmed with silk chiffon, lined with figured silk, boned, velvet, ostrich feathers

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