Ajax loader
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
1894
Evening gown

Background
This grand evening dress was designed to stun the beholder with the oversized scale of its sweeping motifs, which were additionally emphasized through the application of lead crystal brilliants. Mrs. Stanford White was a very large, short-waisted woman, but in Worth’s accomplished hands, she appeared sleek and statuesque at the head of a receiving line. Only those well-acquainted with the shortcomings of her imbalanced figure could appreciate the gown’s deceptive flattery.

Description
Bodice: Boned, fitted, waist-length, deep center front busk point, net panels either side of center front; low sweetheart neck, pleated tulle inset; short puffed tulle sleeves, lace overlayer; bead tassels at hem.

Skirt: Floor-length with train, flat front, full in back; clusters of bead tassels center front, waist to hem.

Garment structure
The fabric pattern is mirror imaged on both the front bodice and skirt. The short puffed tulle sleeves are sewn in by hand and have a delicate gathered lace overlayer. The bodice is constructed to be adjustable in size. The laced back, which is entirely concealed beneath a velvet overlap that fastens with hooks and eyes, has two points on either side of the center. When the points are lapped one on top of the other, the fabric pattern matches at center back; however, the back is designed so it can be let out 3½” and have both points show at the waist.

The floor-length skirt is flat in front with a full back and train. Five clusters of beaded motifs with beaded tassels are applied at the center front from the waist to the hem. The skirt has a taffeta slip with a dust ruffle on the back hem. The dust ruffle is pinked on upper edge with pinked Van Dyke points on the lower edge. The shirring is done by hand, and the ruffle hand-sewn to the underside of the slip.

Worn by Mrs. Stanford White.

Anonymous gift, 1946.

REFERENCE
46.258.2A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Black voided velvet with branching floral and foliate motif, applied brilliants; Chantilly lace; cream tulle; black net with brilliants and jet beads in stylized floral pattern; jet bead and brilliant tassels
Label: Worth / Paris; 66271 (handwritten)
Bodice:
Center front length: 12”
Center back length: 8½”
Waist measurement: 33½”
1894
Tea gown

Background
"Harper’s Bazar" (the second ‘a’ was added in 1929) published an illustration of a comparable late-17th century inspired gown available from Maison Worth as early as 1893, but variations of it remained high on their design roster for much of the decade’s balance. Celebrated Metropolitan Opera soprano Emma Eames was so fond of its design that she wore an on-stage version in her role as the Countess in "Les Noces de Figaro" as well an off-stage rendition: a tea gown worn in her dressing room.

Description
Fitted from shoulder to bust, flaring into floor-length skirt with train, overlapping front panels joined with selvages exposed, pleated at back; open center front bust to hem, satin underlayer, applied lace either side center front, wired black satin rosette at center front bust; lace yoke, tassel fringe; high satin band collar, center back satin bow, lace falling collar with deep points; long sleeves, exaggerated puff from shoulder to elbow over fitted peach silk undersleeve, wired slit opening, brocade inset, bows and tassels at slit, fitted from elbow to wrist, applied lace, full-length back.

Garment structure
Deceptive in its seemingly easy, flowing form, the lightly boned bodice is fitted at the shoulders and bust before flaring into a full floor-length skirt and short train. The inner bodice structure is silk taffeta and has a center back hook-and-eye closure. Silk seam binding stay pockets are hand sewn into the seam allowances. All seams are hand overcast.

The gown is trimmed with handmade bobbin tape lace on the sleeves, yoke, and large falling collar. The black silk rosette is constructed with of wide ribbon, its selvages woven to include wiring for shaping. Wide strips of lace are applied to the satin underskirt at center front, revealed only when the gown is in motion.

The gigot sleeves have two upper sleeves: an exaggerated puff on the oversleeve from shoulder to elbow and a fitted peach silk undersleeve. The lower sleeve is fitted from the elbow to the wrist with lace applied to the lower sleeve and part of the upper sleeve. The sleeves fasten with button loops and fabric covered buttons. The split front of the gown features selvages as a decorative device.

Worn by Mrs. Calvin Brice

Anonymous Gift, 1942.

REFERENCE
42.146.20
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Lavender satin; lavender damask with vermiculate pattern; cream satin; bobbin tape lace; black satin ribbon, lavender tassel fringe
Label: Worth / Paris (on petersham)
Center front length: 57”
Center back length: 72”
Hem circumference: 166¾”
Motif repeat: 6¾”
OTHER VIEWS
1894-95
Tea gown

Background
Tea or reception gowns were a Worth specialty, their designs borrowing from the house’s virtuosic theatrical and fancy dress repertoire. The vibrantly contrasting voided velvet of this piece is here combined with a Renaissance-style lace yoke, evoking the picturesque garments illustrated by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones. The lightly boned interior of the gown allowed its wearer to receive guests within her own home while wearing little more than unconstructed lingerie beneath.

Description
Semifitted, boned bodice, full, floor-length skirt with slight train; lace over satin yoke, gilt lace edging; round neck; long sleeves, exaggerated puffed velvet sleeve upper arm to elbow, fitted, lace over satin sleeve elbow to wrist, lace extending beyond wrist, four cream silk bound buttons at wrist; satin lining.

Garment structure
The simplicity of this tea gown belies the inner structure and the boned bodice that support the dress. The bodice has been professionally let out 4” by inserting four ribbon godets. These additions appear to be a part of the original garment, rather than a later alteration. The lining silk has been slashed, the edges turned under and sewn to the godets with slipstitches—possibly the client had gained weight from the time of her last fitting.

Worn by either Kate or Helen Brice, daughters of Mrs. Calvin Brice.

Anonymous Gift, 1942.

REFERENCE
42.146.10
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Sapphire blue voided velvet on wine satin ground, dense floral and foliate pattern; cream hand-made Burano lace in Venetian rose point style; gilt lace; lavender satin
Label: C. Worth / Paris; 84097 (handwritten on waist stay)
Center front length: 56 ½”
Center back length: 68 ½”
Waist measurement: 23 ¾”
Hem circumference: 196”
Yoke measurements:
Center front length: 4 3/8”
Center back length: 5”