Silk Evening Dress


MoMu - Fashion Museum Antwerp

MoMu - Fashion Museum Antwerp

After about 1840, it became customary to have dresses with two or even three different bodices made for different occasions. In the middle of the century, skirts were very full. In proportion to the amount of fabric needed for a skirt, the bodices required very little material. Because salaries were low, it was only marginally more expensive to have a dress made with two or three bodices than with just one. By changing the bodice, a walking costume was modified into an afternoon dress or even a ball gown. 'Modifiable' dresses such as these were commonplace. Even couturiers such as Charles Frederick Worth designed dresses with two bodices. There were also dresses with removable sections, such as sleeves or a train. In this example, loose long sleeves could be attached with ribbons insided the short sleeves, thus changing the dress into a dinner dress. Color combinations like the reds, greens, yellows, blues and browns used in this dress would have been hard to achieve in the mordant prints of the early 1800's. Steam printing natural colors allowed for much greater freedom for designers. Although many colored fabrics remainded expensive since every color needed its own block or roller to print it, users must have delighted in fabrics that allowed realistic floral displays.

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  • Title: Silk Evening Dress
  • Date Created: 1838
  • Provenance: Jacoba de Jonge
  • Type: Evening Dress
  • Photographer: Hugo Maertens for Momu
  • Rights: All rights reserved
  • Medium: Silk