This ensemble characterises fashionable evening wear for women in the late 1870s. The elbow-length sleeves and square neckline show that it was probably a dinner dress rather than ball gown. Tiers of machine-made lace adorn the skirt and bodice; an overskirt of satin swathes the front of the dress. The bodice extends into a point below the waistline in front and back. This was a new style, known as a ‘cuirasse’ bodice, which appeared in fashion magazines about 1875 and remained fashionable through the 1880s.


  • Title: Evening dress
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1876/1878
  • Location: United Kingdom
  • Provenance: Given by Mrs Thérèse Horner
  • Medium: Silk satin, trimmed with silk ribbon and machine-made lace, lined with cotton, reinforced with whalebone, machine and hand sewn

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