Day Dress

c. 1875

The Kyoto Costume Institute

The Kyoto Costume Institute

A dress in a vivid blue that is distinctive of synthetic dyes. The invention of aniline dyes in 1856 by British chemist William Parkin (1837-1907) led to a range of synthetic colors that caught the world's imagination, and in the second half of the 19th century they rapidly became popular, used in everything from high-class haute couture to more ordinary clothing. A wide range of blues were produced in this period using synthetic dyes, including Lyons Blue, Alkali Blue, and synthetic indigo.
Renoir's La Parisienne (1874) depicts a model wearing a dress in a color very similar to this blue. Manet, Monet, Tissot, and other artists who adopted new perspectives on color all provide lively representations of new, hitherto unseen colors used in fashion.

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  • Title: Day Dress
  • Date Created: c. 1875
  • Location Created: England
  • Type: Dress
  • Photographer: ©The Kyoto Costume Institute, photo by Takashi Hatakeyama
  • Rights: Collection of The Kyoto Costume Institute
  • Medium: Blue wool twill; one-piece dress and overskirt.