Ajax loader
1884-85
Visiting ensemble

Background
The mix of materials used to create 1880s garments, with their silk fringe, tassels, and heavy brocades, was more relevant to upholstery than to clothing. But in the hands of a master couturier, that combination seems perfectly appropriate. This ensemble’s key strength derives from the graceful blend of its materials and shapes: the petals of the elongated bodice fall fluidly over the hitched velvet bustle; the elbow-length mantle enhances the overall design; and the ornate fringes add unity.

Description
Skirt: Floor-length, flat in front, gathered in back; inverted V-shaped center front satin panel with seven graduated rows of fringe waist to hem; velvet drapery at sides, extending to bustle.

Bodice: Satin; boned, fitted, hip-length; round neck; long sleeves with turned-back velvet cuffs, double lace ruffle at wrist; exaggerated points, with fringe, at hem; center front button closure.

Mantle: Velvet; circular, fitted at shoulders; elbow-length; stand collar, silk ball edging, satin ribbon ties at neck; fringe at hem.

Garment structure
Petal-shaped points resolve the bodice edge and peek from beneath the fringe of the short mantle. The sleeves have turned-back velvet cuffs with lace ruffles at the wrists. The velvet overskirt opens into an inverted V-shape to showcase the beaded fringe design on the satin underskirt. Knife pleats finish the underskirt hem. The overskirt is directed to the back and gathered with the satin underskirt at the bustle.

Worn by Mrs. Charles Boughton Wood.

Gift of Mrs. Hokan B. Steffanson, 1936.

REFERENCE
36.11.1A-C
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Dark brown cut and uncut voided velvet in floral and foliate pattern; dark brown satin; dark brown silk, fringe; satin ribbon; cream lace
Label: Worth 7. rue de la Paix. Paris (on bodice and cape petershams)
OTHER VIEWS
1885-86
Evening dress

Background
The innovative use of modular components to facilitate Worth’s custom process is particularly apparent in this evening dress. His popular contoured bodice is a focal feature, playfully accented by his use of contrasting, asymmetrical shoulder treatments. The combination of blood red satin and scarlet damask adds slenderizing interest to the bodice construction. Worth’s penchant for incorporating antique laces is masterfully demonstrated here. Notably, the lace has been draped and blended into the design with its integrity intact—no cuts have been made.

Description
Bodice: Boned, fitted; waist-length, deep busk points center front and back, satin stomach panels; wide décolletage, pleated satin at bust, pleated damask at back; sleeveless, satin ribbon and lace at right armhole, lace at left armhole, feathers at left shoulder; center back lace-up closure.

Skirt: Floor-length with train; lace panels over satin at center front and sides; asymmetrical damask overskirt, draping at front from right hip to left knee, draped and gathered over bustle; feather cluster, satin ribbon at left knee; taffeta lining.

Garment structure
The draped skirt is lined with taffeta and has interior tie backs in the train to direct its thrust. The bodice is naturally boned with slender strips of baleen, which are inserted within hand-applied casings. The asymmetrical design is trimmed with ostrich feathers on the left shoulder and lace under the arm. The right shoulder is trimmed with a satin knot and lace, which is wired at the edge so it will stand up.

Worn by mother of donor.

Gift of Mrs. Phillip W. Livermore, 1941.

REFERENCE
41.224.2A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Scarlet silk damask in chrysanthemum pattern; blood red satin; 18th-century cream bobbin lace; red ostrich feathers
Label: Worth / Paris
Bodice:
Waist measurement: 22”
OTHER VIEWS
1885-86
Evening dress

Background
The very popular basic evening bodice is treated with only a light surface embellishment of beadwork and metallic. In keeping with the companion luxuries typical of a New York’s Gilded Age household, the bodice back drape is to be secured by hand stitches taken at the time of each wearing—and administered by a lady’s maid.

Description
Bodice: Boned, fitted, waist-length, center front busk point, crossover satin panel, right shoulder to left underarm, chiffon over satin at left bust and shoulder, applied rose motif, mock half sash; wide V neck, chiffon ruffle at back, applied beads, pearls and silver thread; sleeveless; shirred chiffon at armholes, center back lace-up closure.

Skirt: Floor-length with train; applied rose motif on front panels, center front and left and right side inverted box pleats reversing to plain satin; plain satin back gathered into bustle drapery extending into train.

Garment structure
The skirt has three inserted, inverted, unadorned satin box pleats, one at center front and one at each side. The selvage of each inserted panel is used decoratively, with hand applied floral beadwork outlining each edge. Hand-applied floral beadwork sprigs sparsely cover the skirt front panels. The side back panels extend into an opulent bustled train.

Worn by mother of donor.

Gift of Mrs. Phillip W. Livermore, 1941.

REFERENCE
41.224.4A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Cream satin; cream satin; cream silk chiffon; applied silver seed beads and glass pearls; silver metallic thread
Label: Worth / Paris (on petersham)
ca. 1886
Ball gown

Background
This ball gown, with its sleek bodice and draped bustle overskirt, illustrates Maison Worth’s ability to combine its proscribed modular components into a singular composition. The focus is not only on shaping but also on the effects of light reflectivity. The glowing satin sharply contrasts with the uncut, light-absorbing velvet, imbuing the gown with a sophisticated luminosity.

Description
Skirt: Floor-length with train; velvet underskirt, vertically slashed tabs all around outlined with attached lace flounce, pleated satin ruffle; satin overskirt, open at front, wrap-and-tie drapery knotted at hip left of center front, beaded tassels at ends; fringe and bead trim on overskirt edges; silk plush edging at train hem.

Bodice: Boned, fitted; waist-length, inset velvet panels with deep center front busk point, square basque tails with bow; off-the-shoulder neck with pleated satin drapery, overlapping lace ruffle; sleeveless, shirred satin bands at armholes, flowers at left shoulder; center back lace-up closure.

Garment structure
The back of the neckline drape is attached only on the right shoulder and laps the laced closure. Since there are no hooks on the end of the overlap, the drape was hand-stitched closed by a lady’s maid at the time of wearing. The sleeveless armholes have an additional frill. At center back, a satin bow tops the two squared tails. A single fabric-covered lead weight is placed at the corner of each tail. The velvet underskirt hem is vertically slashed 4 ¾” all around, creating 2½” tabs. A hand attached lace flounce outlines the entire broken edge and overlays a pleated satin ruffle. A silk plush edging is sewn to the train.

Gift of Mrs. Ernest Iselin, 1932.

REFERENCE
32.12.2A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Ice blue satin; ice blue uncut ribbed velvet; cream lace; ice blue chiffon; ice blue ball fringe; ice blue beads; artificial flowers; ice blue silk plush
Label: Worth / Paris (woven in block letters on petersham)
Bodice:
Center front length: 14¼”
Center back length: 10¼”
Waist measurement: 20 7/8”
1886
Dress

Background
The front-lacing bodice, with its stylized Gothic Revival details and extensive theatrical train, hints at its possible use as a reception or recital gown. The richly colored velvet was probably originally offset by the use of lace as a trim. Imprints in the velvet support the conclusion that the highly valued period lace was likely removed for reuse.

Description
Gothic revival-style velvet on velvet overdress effect; princess line, floor-length with slight train; attached boned bodice; low, square neck, square collar, applied lace; 3/4-length sleeves, pickadils on shoulders, lace ruffles at sleeve ends; center front lace-up closure, tabbed hem over pleated hem on center front panel.

Garment structure
The boned bodice is backed with silk taffeta on the front and side back sections. There is no backing on the center back sections and the boning is sewn directly to the velvet seam allowances. The featured front lacing performs both functionally and decoratively. The three-quarter sleeves are fitted. Stiffened bands are sewn into decorative pickadil loops at the sleeve cap tops. The floor-length skirt has a pronounced bustle, finishing in an extensive train. It has a satin-lined velvet overskirt, which opens below the laced closure to expose a velvet underskirt, which has a tabbed hem over a pleated hem. A double dust ruffle is applied to the entire hem. The skirt has a small pocket on the seam.

Gift of Mrs. C. Lorillard Spencer, 1940.

REFERENCE
40.401.1
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Claret velvet; cream bobbin lace
Label: Worth / Paris (on waist stay)
Center front length: 47 ½”
Center back length: 80”
Waist measurement: 22 ½”
Hem circumference: 143”
1888
Ball gown

Background
Worth plays with the silk’s differing refractive properties by using both its obverse and reverse sides. In order to facilitate its multi-sided usage, the textile is left unlined along its exposed selvages. They are used as vertical ribs, which outline the skirt panels as well as underscoring the bodice drape. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries debutantes were frequently referred to as “buds,” hence the presence of the gown’s rose petals and applied three-dimensional cambric rosebuds.

Description
Bodice: Ribbed silk; boned, fitted, waist-length, center front busk point; center back tails; V-neck, satin drapery with exposed selvage; sleeveless, chiffon drapery at armholes and neck, center back bow extending into center back ruffle; rose petals at shoulder; center back lace-up closure.

Skirt: Floor-length with train; flat front, bustle back; satin panel center front, applied net flounce, knee to hem; cambric rose garland from left hip to knee.

Garment structure
This ball gown combines several Worth signatures: the decorative use of selvage edges; the use of both fabric faces as part of the design; and the use of double-corded piping to finish edges. Ribbed silk is used to create the boned bodice. The silk is turned back in an asymmetrical drape at the neck edge to reveal the satin side with the selvage featured at the edge.

The bodice front is cut off grain, without fitting seams or darts, allowing it to drape gracefully with light pleating at the waist. The back is on grain and fitted with seams from the armholes to the hem. The bodice tails begin at the waist and extend over the bustled skirt back. They are lined with silk taffeta and topstitched at the edges. Chiffon drapery is tucked into the neckline and armholes.

The flat-fronted asymmetrical skirt is comprised of an underskirt, overskirt, and train. The center front satin panel is trimmed with a 16”-wide embroidered net flounce from the knee to hem that is spot-tacked at intervals. The net has three small (¾”) pleats placed midway between the spot-tacks and 2½” below the edge. The tucks control the fullness and the net falls over them, creating a scallop effect. The skirt has a 3½” self-fabric band applied to the wrong side of the hem, which is used to create a smooth line. It is 3/8” below the skirt hem and has a double dust ruffle.

Worn by mother of donor.

Gift of Miss Isabel Shults, 1944.

REFERENCE
44.197.1A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Dove gray ribbed silk brocaded with changeable copper-pink rose petals reversing to dove gray satin brocaded with changeable copper-pink rose petals; cream embroidered net; gray chiffon; artificial cambric flowers
Label: Worth / Paris (on petersham)
Bodice:
Center front length: 10 ¾”
Center back length: 19 ¼”
Waist measurement: 24 ½”
Overskirt:
Center front length: 39 3/4”
Center back length: 57 ¼”
Hem circumference: 74”
Underskirt:
Hem circumference: 57 ¾”
Train length: 78 ¼”
OTHER VIEWS
1888
Mantle

Background
Both Charles Frederick Worth and his son Jean-Philippe revered and took inspiration from ethnic as well as historical garment cuts and textiles. Such is the case in the design and surface embellishment of this persimmon silk velvet sortie de bal, or evening mantle. Its appearance is derived from a man’s 16th-century Spanish cape but updated to suit the needs of the Gilded Age client. Its unexpected contrasting orange and gold striped lining is revealed when the mantle is opened.

Description
Hip-length, gathered and fitted at shoulders; band collar, lace ruffle; gold metallic braid; arm slits; beads and brilliants in densely applied bands at edges and forming pointed motifs at shoulders; bead tassels at center back; center front hook-and-eye closure; striped silk lining.

Garment structure
The hip-length mantle is gathered and fitted at shoulders with slits for the arms. At the neck edge, machine-made lace is pleated into a ruffle and hand sewn in place under the band collar.

The bead embellishment consists of metallic gold braids applied in two widths and brilliants in different sizes. Used to emphasize the garment’s straight lines, the wider braid defines a pattern of parallel rows with the larger brilliants in between, while the narrow braid is used for circles and curved shapes. Smaller beads and the narrower braid are used to outline the trim pattern and for the bead fringe at center back.

The front mantle lining is cut on the cross grain, the stripes are parallel to the opening. On the back, the lining is cut on the straight grain with the stripes horizontal. The woven Worth label is hand sewn at the back neck.

Worn by mother of donor.

Gift of Mrs. George S. Amory, 1946.

REFERENCE
46.14
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Persimmon velvet; orange and yellow striped silk; gold metallic braid; beads; brilliants; bead tassels; cream machine-made lace
Label: Worth / Paris