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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”
1897
Fancy dress costume, “Infanta Margarita after Velasquez”

Background
In early 1897, Jean-Philippe Worth received a rush order for a fancy dress costume from a regular client via transatlantic cable. Recreating the costume worn by the Infanta as portrayed by Velasquez through the use of modular components and an accurate dress form maintained for his client, Worth was able to complete and ship his commission back to New York 24 hours later. The gown itself betrays no evidence of its lightning-fast manufacture. Its silken lining and silver lace underscore the high period standards borne by all garments carrying the Worth label.

Description
Bodice: Barrel-shaped, padded; boned, waist-length, center front busk point; bateau neck, pleated organza inset, galon d’argent edging, lace shoulder ruffle, ruched velvet band, taffeta cockade at collarbone; long puffed organza sleeves, overlaid with embellished satin bands, creating slashed effect, triple-layered mushroom pleated organza gauntlet cuffs, applied lace at wrist and cuff edges, pink satin double bow at wrists; garland draped across torso from right shoulder to left waist, looped end falling to knee.

Skirt: Pannier-style, floor-length, triple tiers of embellished satin; lace apron.

Garment structure
In true 17th-century manner, the shaping of the heavily boned and padded bodice makes no attempt to conform to the body’s natural contours—a radical departure from other contemporary period interpretations. Both bodice and double-layered white satin skirt are applied with hand-sewn satin-weave-edged white organza ribbon, its stripes separated by bands of galon d'argent. The converging bodice ribbons are mitered into a center front seam. The ribbons on the skirt are horizontally placed.

Worn by Kate Brice to the Bradley-Martin Ball, February 10, 1897.

Anonymous Gift, 1942.

REFERENCE
42.146.8A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
White satin overlaid with alternating rows of white organza ribbon and galon d'argent bands; white organza; cream machine-made lace; silver metallic “lei” with spangles; pink taffeta ribbon; brilliants; black velvet ruched ribbon; rhinestone order backed by pink taffeta cockade
OTHER VIEWS
1897-99
Reception dress

Background
Jean-Philippe Worth combined two contrasting versions of a Turkish-inspired palmetto motif in this sumptuous reception dress. Worth was so taken with the velvet that he incorporated it into a fancy dress costume he personally wore as Capulet in 1898. The bodice of the gold and cream princess-cut gown is overlaid with a bib of hand-made lace. Intended to slenderize and elongate the silhouette of a large-scale client, velvet panels voided in the same motif are tacked to and fall from the shoulder, resolving in a fringed and jeweled hem.

Description
Dress: Princess line, floor-length with train; boned, fitted to waist, skirt flat in front, fuller in back; wide square neck; sleeveless, chiffon puffs at top and lower armhole edges; integral floor-length velvet floating panels, gathered at shoulders, exposed selvages, self fringe at ends with applied rhinestones and beads, pink satin lining; center back lace-up closure.

Bib: Lace, circular; waist-length; square neck.

Garment structure
The panels are softly gathered over the shoulders and tacked front and back. There is a puffed bowknot at the back shoulder, from which the train-length velvet panel falls. The puffed chiffon applied to the armhole is in two overlapping halves. The bottom half is supported by an underarm-shield shaped brocade panel and acts as a modesty piece. The upper half supports the lace bib at the shoulder. The princess dress panels are lightly shaped to the hip by internal boning and fall freely from hip to hem. The dress laces at center back and is lined in yellow silk.

Anonymous Gift, 1942.

REFERENCE
42.146.4A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
White satin brocaded with yellow and white palmetto motif with Turkish influence; claret voided velvet in matching pattern; cream hand-made Burano lace in the Venetian rose point style; cream chiffon; lavender satin; clear brilliants; claret brilliants and short bugle beads
Label: Worth / Paris
Dress:
Center front length: 51¾”
Center back length: 69”
Waist measurement: 35½”
Hem circumference: 134”
Panels:
Front: 11¼” X 48”
Back: 11¾” X 69½”
OTHER VIEWS