Ajax loader
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”
1895
Afternoon dress

Background
This gorgeously vulgar afternoon dress bespeaks the ostentatious lifestyle of its nouveau-riche owner, combining an undulating feather brocade with velvet, lace, and cut-steel beadwork. Only a hand as skilled as Worth’s could have plausibly combined such disparate elements into one garment, and only a client of Mrs. Brice’s scale—with her 36-inch corseted waist—could have carried it off.

Description
Bodice: Boned, fitted, waist-length; wide draped brocade revers, applied beads at edges; brocade stand collar, integral lace jabot; velvet gigot sleeves, flared cuff, brocade lining, lace ruffle at wrist; center front button closure.

Skirt: Floor-length with train, flat in front, full in back; brocade overskirt open right of center front, steel cut beads at edges, velvet panel at opening; pleat left of center front, knee to hem.

Garment structure
The bodice body and split overskirt is made from the elaborately patterned brocade. Velvet is used for the sleeves, front yoke, and underskirt panels. The boned bodice is closely fitted and has an asymmetrical velvet yoke, wide draped brocade revers, and a brocade stand collar. Its front extends to the waist with six tails at the back to create a very small bustle effect. It has button and buttonhole closure at center front. The velvet gigot sleeves balloon outward and the sleeve cap is stiffened and supported by a shorter undersleeve. The edges of the collar and skirt opening are trimmed with copper-and-silver and silver metallic cord, and steel cut beads.

Typically, unmatched seams indicate that a Worth garment has been modified, but in this unaltered exception most of the structural seams are not matched. Only the center back seam bears the typical mirrored imagery.

Worn by Mrs. Calvin Brice.

Anonymous Gift, 1942.

REFERENCE
42.146.11A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Brown velvet; raw umber satin with silver brocade in undulating feather pattern; cream macramé lace; steel cut beads, metallic cord applied in trefoil pattern
Label: Worth / Paris
Bodice:
Center front length: 17”
Center back length: 17 ¼”
Waist measurement: 36”
1896
Ball gown

Background
The designs of Maison Worth took advantage of the proportions of large women to showcase magnificent, grand-scale textiles that would overwhelm more diminutive clients. This ball gown, made for Mrs. Calvin Brice, is dominated by its spectacular variegated American Beauty rose brocade. To offset the power of the textile, the designer softens the neckline and sleeve edges with a bib and ruffles of rich gold metallic lace and caps the sleeve with a cluster of silk flowers.

Description
Bodice: Boned, fitted, waist-length, rounded busk points center front and center back; waist-length V-shaped lace bib at front; off-the-shoulder neck; organza cap undersleeve, gathered lace ruffle, flower clusters at armholes and shoulders.

Skirt: Trumpet shape, floor-length with train.

Garment structure
The boned bodice extends to the waist with rounded points at both the center front and center back. Close fit is achieved with seams from the shoulders to the waist on the front and from the armholes to the waist on the back. The waist edge is finished with a single line of corded piping. The bodice laces at center back. The gathered lace flounces around the armholes overlay and are supported by organza undersleeves. The trumpet-shaped skirt has a floor-length train. The skirt front is flat with inverted pleats on either side of the center.

Worn by Mrs. Calvin S. Brice.

Anonymous Gift, 1942.

REFERENCE
42.146.6A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Purple satin brocade with American Beauty rose pattern; gold metallic lace with applied gilt paillettes; purple silk flowers; cream organza
Label: Worth / Paris; 84095
Bodice:
Center front length: 14”
Center back length: 12 7/8”
Waist measurement: 35½”
1896
Afternoon dress

Background
Jean-Philippe Worth’s stately, yet spectacular afternoon dress was commissioned by an older client, to be worn in her capacity as mother-of-the-bride. The Lyon-produced textile depicts a stylized "kousa" or Japanese flowering dogwood—distinguished by its petal-like pointed bracts, and bamboo canes. The judicious placement of the kaleidoscopically- seamed motifs amplifies the power of the silk’s visual effect and interjects an additional dimension of artistry into the design.

Description
Bodice: Combined jacket and blouse; boned, fitted, waist-length, curved tails; integral lace vestee with high stand collar; long fitted sleeves, gathered at shoulder, extending past wrist, open from inner elbow to end; lace inset extending past wrist; silk cord loop and buttons; damask half belt at front.

Skirt: Floor-length with train; flat in front, full in back.

Garment structure
Some of the most beautiful seaming occurs at the bodice center back, which provides a delicately scaled preview of the larger motif mirroring of the skirt. The contours of the skirt are as much determined by the textile’s sweeping motifs as the motifs themselves are enhanced by the contouring. Despite its conservative design and narrow front, the skirt back opens out into a surprisingly luxurious train. The train’s overlapping knife-pleated panels repeat the mirroring of the bodice back and center front of the dress.

Worn by Mrs. Henry A. Tailer, at the marriage of her daughter, January 16, 1896.

Gift of Mrs. S. Breck Parkman Trowbridge, 1949.

REFERENCE
49.125.1A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Lavender satin brocade with dogwood and bamboo stalk motif; cream Alençon lace
Label: Worth / Paris
Bodice:
Waist measurement: 27"
Skirt:
Center front length: 42 ¼”
Center back length 55 3/4"
Hem circumference: 220"
Fabric width: 25 1/2"
OTHER VIEWS
1897
Evening dress

Background
The splendor of this 17th-century revival-style design worn by the mother of a bride could just as easily have placed it onstage or at a fancy dress ball. A variation on a popular 1890s Worth favorite, its modular components include exaggerated puffed sleeves, a bell-shaped split-paneled skirt, and an enormous pearl-encrusted Bruges lace collar. The velvet motifs of this gown were outlined with glass pearls, but cleverly only on its skirt front panel – so that its wearer would not crush the eggshell-thin glass when seated for her daughter’s nuptial banquet.

Description
Open robe style
Bodice: Boned, fitted, waist-length, center front points; square neck, lace bertha collar; elbow-length melon sleeves; lace over ribbed silk band at sleeve opening, ribbed silk bow and aiglets; cream satin sash, bow with fringed streamers left of center front; applied pearls overall; center front lace-up closure.

Skirt: Floor-length with train, five fabric lengths; ribbed silk underskirt, self bows with aiglets center front waist to hem; voided velvet overskirt, open center front, applied pearls on front panels; concealed on-seam pocket within train right of center back.

Garment structure
The laced bodice closure is completely concealed at center front by a lace panel. The eyelets for the lacing are on a sub-layer at center front. After the bodice is laced, the lace- trimmed panel is folded over the opening and fastened with hooks and eyes, and the voided velvet sections are folded into place. The square neckline is trimmed with a mid-19th century mixed bobbin and needle lace (Bruges), its motifs outlined with pearls. The lace folds to the inside at the back neck edge, consistent with Worth’s respect for the beauty and value of the material by shaping through folding, rather than cutting. The silk sash holds the panels and fastens left of the center front with a large rosette and has silk fringe at the ends. The bodice back is fitted with a seam center back and seams from the armholes to the waist. The fabric pattern is matched on all seams.

The overskirt opens at center front to show the ribbed silk underskirt. The underskirt is trimmed with five matching bows and pearl and braid aiglets. Double inverted pleats at the back create a back fullness and rounded train. The taffeta backing and skirt lining is rust-colored taffeta.

Worn by grandmother of donor to the 1897 wedding of her daughter.

Gift of Mrs. Moorhead C. Kennedy, 1985.

REFERENCE
85.49A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Cream voided velvet in strapwork pattern; Bruges lace; glass pearls; cream satin; cream silk fringe; ecru ribbed silk; pearl and silk-floss covered aiglets
Label: Worth/ Paris; 82116 (handwritten)
Bodice:
Center front length: 11”
Center back length: 14 ¾”
Waist measurement: 34 ½”