Ajax loader
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
ca. 1890
Skating coat

Background The high standards of craftsmanship of the few surviving outergarments bearing the Worth label are consistent with those of his elaborate evening fantasias. The wool duvetyn and mink trim chosen for this ice skating coat provide an ostentatious interpretation of a more typically subdued utilitarian garment. The coat’s back vent opens to a blood-red silk satin lining, evidencing the designer’s penchant for surprising juxtapositions. Description Floor-length; double-breasted; fitted to waist, flared skirt, center back pleats, dropped bustle with back vent; notched collar with pointed lapels; puffed sleeves with turned-back cuffs; flap pockets either side center front; fur trim at all edges; tortoise shell buttons; satin lining. Garment structure The coat is sleekly fitted to the waist with a flared skirt and slight bustle. In addition to a vent at center back, which opens from hem almost to the waist, the coat has an inverted pleat and knife pleats on either side to allow for movement and to fit over the bustle. Gift of Princess Viggo, 1930.

REFERENCE
30.155.4
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Cocoa brown duvetyn; mink fur; blood red satin
Label: Worth (in script on label at back neck)
OTHER VIEWS
1890-91
Evening dress

Background A fondness for 18th-century silhouette and detail informed many designs produced by Maison Worth during the last years of the 19th century. Using its formidable referencing archive—amassed for both theatrical and fancy dress inspiration—to full advantage, the house incorporated period elements into its non-theatrical creations. This dinner dress, made for Grace Wilson, who shortly thereafter became Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt III, provided the wearer with a timeless, picturesque gown. Description Bodice: Cream satin; boned, fitted, waist-length, gathered and pleated tail; wide décolletage, yellow chiffon ruffle all around; long, fitted yellow satin sleeves with turned-back cuffs, six-button placket; chiffon ruffle at wrist. Skirt: Yellow satin; floor-length, slight train, flat in front, full in back; chiffon drapery center back; looped tabs at hem. The tightly boned bodice is cropped at the waist with a shallow center-front dip, referencing an 18th-century stomacher panel. It is closely fitted with a décolleté neckline, which is trimmed with a chiffon drape on the front and a pleated ruffle all around. The closely woven selvage on the chiffon is 3/8” wide and is used as a decorative edge. The lower bodice edge is finished with double corded piping. It laces center back and has a self-fabric ruffle beneath the eyelets. Almost flat in front with small box pleats on either side of center, the floor-length skirt has a slight train. The full back is folded down at the waist edge and hand sewn to the waistband with cartridge pleats. A chiffon drapery cascades down center back. The ruffle edges are finished with selvage. The skirt hem is trimmed with satin looped tabs. Worn by Grace Wilson, who married Cornelius Vanderbilt III, in 1896. Gift of Mrs. Robert L. Stevens and Mr. Cornelius Vanderbilt, 1953.

REFERENCE
53.129.12A-C
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Yellow satin; cream satin; yellow chiffon
Label: Worth / Paris (in waistband)
Bodice:
Waist measurement: 20¾”
OTHER VIEWS
1891-92
Evening dress

Background The modern silhouette and 1930s- to ‘40s-looking sweetheart neckline of the evening dress have always placed its fabrication date in question. Following a recent reexamination, its authenticity as an unaltered, late-19th century garment has been confirmed. Sophisticated in cut, the gown’s hour-glass torso surrenders to the bias sweep of its skirt and train. Its striking, timeless design would have made as strong a statement on a proscenium as on a ballroom floor. Description Princess line; floor-length with train; boned, fitted to waist; sweetheart neck, V neck in back, shirring at bust; three-quarter length sleeves, gathered and puffed at shoulders; gored skirt, flat in front, fuller in back. Garment structure This princess-line dress is floor-length with a short train. The boned bodice is shirred at the bust, fitted to the waist, and laces at center back. It has a sweetheart neckline in front with a V-shaped neckline in back. The pleated bertha at the back neck fastens with hooks and eyes on the left shoulder. The three-quarter length sleeves are gathered at the top as well as in horizontal pleats, forming a falling gigot silhouette. They are backstitched into place to withstand the weight and drag of their bulk. The skirt is flat and lean in front, its back fullness flowing over a small bustle pad and trailing behind. Embossed impressions in the velvet 6” above the hemline indicate that the skirt may have originally had a band of applied trim. The dress is unlined, the bodice backed with silk taffeta, which extends several inches below the waist. Gift of Mrs. Stewart C. Schenk, 1947.

REFERENCE
47.290
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Red velvet
Label: Worth / Paris
Center front length: 52 ½”
Center back length: 64”
Waist measurement: 27”
OTHER VIEWS
1892-95
Evening dress

Background The delicate proportions of this youthful dress illustrate Worth’s ability to design for and suit a client base widely diverse in age and type. Although the house embraced the challenge of designing for generously proportioned clients, it was also capable of flattering and emphasizing the charms of a more delicate lady. Description Bodice: Boned, fitted; waist-length, short split tails; wide neck, pleated velvet band, lace bertha collar, applied bows at center front, center back, and at shoulders; puffed, elbow-length velvet sleeves, gathered at inner elbow, lace ruffle at opening; integral velvet sash with center back butterfly bow; center front lace-up closure. Skirt: Floor-length with train; lengths joined with selvages exposed; pleated and gathered at waist all around. Garment structure The lace bertha obscures the front-lacing system of its boned bodice. The lower bodice edge is finished with a single row of corded piping. The panels on the bodice back are cut and seamed to form a mirror image of the motif. The pleated and gathered skirt panels are joined along their selvages—hand sewn with wrong sides together—and decoratively featured. The skirt has a pocket in right side seam and a dust ruffle along the hem. Owned by donor's mother Gift of Mr. Datus C. Smith, Jr., 1974.

REFERENCE
74.34A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Ivory satin with brocaded stripes of dark and light pink stemmed flowers with green leaves, gold columbine, and gold vines; pink velvet; cream lace with dot and bowknot pattern; pink velvet bows
Label: Worth / Paris
Bodice:
Center front length 11½”
Center back length to tails: 12”
Center back length to bottom: 15”
Waist measurement: 22¼”
Skirt:
Center front length: 40½”
Center back length: 50”
Waist measurement: 24½”
OTHER VIEWS