Red color used to be achieved with expensive natural dyes such as kermes and cochineal, and has inspired admiration from ancient times. The red and white contrasting pekin stripes also heighten the folds' effect. Pekin stripes are textiles originally made in China of equal-width striped patterns. Along with the expansion of interest in chinoiserie, around 1760, Peking striped fabric was even produced in France and became popular.
The purple tinted red color in this dress comes from the animal dye kermes. The kermes beetle lives on kermes oaks that have grown by the Mediterranean Sea since ancient times. Vast quantities of female kermes are necessary to dye a single piece of cloth, making them a prized commodity and bringing huge wealth to the Mediterranean region, including the south of France, in both medieval and modern times.
We can find the influence of military costume in the red color and the Brandenburg decorations on the front of this coat. The red dye is cochineal. During and after the Age of Exploration, Spain brought cochineal from Middle and South America to Europe in large quantities, and it was used all over the world.
The cashmere shawl was imported into Western Europe at the end of the eighteenth century. It comes from the Kashmere region in the northwest of India, where the short soft hairs of the mountain goat were hand-spun into cashmere yarn and woven into woolen cloth. Intricate patterns comprised of exotic motifs in polychrome on a red base, and a soft texture of cashmere enchanted ladies even its high price. The cashmere shawl became a popular item since the beginning of the nineteenth century for its rarity and exoticism, as well as for its practicality.
The designs and textures of these objects clearly show distinctive features of the Art Deco style. Jean Dunand was a craftworker who learned lacquerwork techniques from a Japanese lacquer-worker, and applied them to Western designs. He earned his place in history as one of the greatest Art Deco artists through novel ideas such as lacquering metals and fabrics.
Yellow was seen as a color of heretics and of contempt until medieval times in Christian culture. On the other hand, yellow was the color of the Emperor in China. In the eighteenth century, when there was a great deal of interest in the exotic, chinoiserie spread in Europe, and people started to use yellow as a fashionable color.
In the late 18th century, following the trend toward simple clothing except for court dress, women's costumes also became more casual. Most of the fabrics used to make dresses came to have a light texture. In addition, the orientation toward stripe patterns, which became popular among all classes of people, shows the same trend.
The textile, featuring large botanical patterns that emit a beautiful glow as a result of sterling silver thread, is Spitalfields silk. The contrast between the blue silk taffeta and the silver thread creates a harmonious beauty that is simply stunning. The light, elegant and uninhibited taste of Rococo was accentuated by color.
This suit is characterized by elegant embroidery and pale. In the eighteenth century, the soft and light hues of this dress replaced the darker hues of the seventeenth century. Boucher, the French court painter, and Gainsborough, the English painter known for his portraits of aristocrats, painted women’s dresses in this color.
The border pattern here is wood-block printed. Compared to small-scale designs, large patterns require a solid technique to avoid misalignment of the print colors. Considering that this mixed fabric of silk and wool is a material hard to print on, this dress is a particularly fine example on how much cloth printing techniques had evolved.
Bright purple became fashionable with the invention of the chemical dye aniline in 1856 by British chemist William Parkin, which led to a range of synthetic colors that caught the world's imagination. The usage of fashionable color and the generous drapery used in this dress are characterized of the house of Worth.