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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
ca. 1900
Tailor-made suit

Background An adaptation of the more sober and businesslike male approach to dressing, the tailor-made suit easily found its way into the wardrobes of late-19th century enlightened woman. The most common early cuts combined stylish short jackets with gored trumpet skirts and were accessorized with crisp linen or patterned cotton shirtwaist blouses. Here Worth modifies the innate simplicity of this formula to interject the formidable stitching and tailoring skills that would legitimize the cost differential between his version and the one produced in a Ladies’ Mile department store workroom. Description Jacket: Princess line, jacket and vest effect; calf-length; diamond and circle embroidery at center front, neck to waist, box pleats either side of center front and center back form interlacing strapwork at waist; high velvet neck, octagon and spoke embroidered mock collar; gigot sleeves, puffed and box-pleated upper arm to elbow, fitted to wrist, applied velvet band and three velvet buttons below elbow, notched opening at wrist, velvet inset, gilt and octagon and spoke embroidery; damask lining. Skirt: Trumpet-shaped, floor-length, slight train; topstitching in Greek key motif at hem; center back hook-and-eye closure; taffeta lining. Garment structure This tailor-made suit has a calf-length princess line jacket which is trimmed with strips of embroidery with an octagon and spoke design. The trims were first embroidered in silk floss, chenille, and metallic chain on pale blue velvet. The velvet was then trimmed away close to the embroidery. The trims were finally applied to the jacket by hand. Embellished with a topstitched Greek key motif at the hemline, the trumpet-shaped skirt has a slight train. The skirt has a separate shaped waistband and a taffeta lining with a dust ruffle. Separate closures at center back for the skirt and the lining fasten with hooks and eyes. Anonymous gift, 1987.

REFERENCE
87.49A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Orchid wool broadcloth; magenta velvet; cream satin with applied magenta velvet and white silk cord; cream silk floss, cream chenille yarn and gilt embroidery on pale blue velvet ground; gilt embroidery; white silk floral damask; purple taffeta
Label: Worth / Paris; 25708
OTHER VIEWS
ca. 1900
Afternoon dress

Background Rather than the vivid jewel colors so frequently favored by Maison Worth, this afternoon dress turns to the graphic effect of simple black and white. The staggered widths of its woven stripes provide an optical resonance at the converging, mitered seam joins. The vision that has placed the most powerful seaming at the dress’s center front exemplifies the artistry and precision dressmaking that are emblematic of the house. Description Bodice: Boned, fitted; waist-length, double breasted; low, round neck, chiffon fichu, lace ruffle; satin bow at center front bust; below-elbow length sleeves, gathered at inner elbow, gathered tulle undersleeve, lace engageante at opening; V-shaped satin girdle extending into center back bow with floor-length streamers; enamel buttons (not original to garment); center front hook-and-eye-closure. Skirt: Trumpet-shaped, flat in front, full in back; floor-length with train. Garment structure Although more modern and straightforward in attitude, the dress retains many features of the late 1890s, including its boned bodice and controlled waist and the flat-front, floor-length skirt with its sweeping rounded train. The bodice front folds down at the neck edge, in semblance of a collar, and is finished with a black satin bow. The center front hook-and-eye closure is concealed beneath an off-center decorative overlap. The V-shaped girdle on each side is fashioned from black satin ribbons that are pleated into the desired shape; they extend to back, forming a bow with hem-length streamers. The below-elbow, tube-shaped sleeves are cut with a slight fullness at the top and are trimmed with a self-fabric bow and a gathered lace-over-tulle flounce. Gift of Mrs. Donald P. Spence, 1974.

REFERENCE
74.8.33A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Cream ribbed silk with black satin stripes, lengths joined to create chevron stripes; white silk chiffon; black satin; cream net lace; white tulle
Label: Worth / Paris
OTHER VIEWS
ca. 1900
Evening dress

Background An extreme example of the atelier’s penchant for decoratively showcasing selvages, this gown relies on full-width warp-printed floral ribbon streamers as its primary point of interest. Measuring 10½ inches selvage-to-selvage, the customized ribbons are not only allowed to flow freely from the skirt’s waistband but are also draped diagonally to comprise its bodice, gracefully resolving in a rounded bow trailing behind. Description Bodice: Chiné silk; boned, fitted, waist-length, center front and center back points; wide, square neck, tulle and pleated yellow satin inset at front; lace ruffle over shoulders; sleeveless, puffed and ruched chiffon and lace at armholes, yellow satin bow at left shoulder; chiné rosettes with streamers either side center back waist; center back lace-up closure. Skirt: Cream satin; floor-length, slight train; overlapping floor-length ribbons at sides and back; ruched chiffon at hem all around. Garment structure The closely fitted, waist length bodice front is made entirely from a single width of a horizontally draped ribbon. The bodice back is comprised of seam and shaped vertically oriented ribbons. The front neckline is trimmed with a draped satin band. All seams are boned with the casings sewn by hand to the seam allowances. Chiné rosettes and streamers are attached on either side of the laced center back closure. The skirt is fabricated in cream satin and applied all around with overlapping full-length ribbons which fall freely from the waistband. Worn by Miss Sarah Cooper Hewitt. Gift of Princess Viggo, 1930.

REFERENCE
30.155.42A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Cream satin; wide chiné printed faille ribbon with pink and white apple blossom and green leaf motif on cream and pale yellow banded ground; white chiffon; ecru lace; yellow satin
Label: Worth / Paris
Center front length: 10 1/3”
Center back length: 10”
Waist measurement: 24”
Streamer: 28” and 42”
Ribbon width: 10 ½”
OTHER VIEWS
1900
Evening dress

Background The richness of the jewel-toned velvets produced at the end of the 19th century in France, obviated any need for embellishment. Here Worth has showcased the powerful ruby red of this evening dress with a simple, sleek skirt and stylized, wired bow sleeves. Devoid of any telltale high-fashion details that might date the fashion as démodé, comparable austere, simple dresses were favored attire for formal portraiture and appear on many of the sitters portrayed by John Singer Sargent. Description Bodice: Boned, fitted, waist-length, draped surplice front; surplice panel at back; wide neck, V in front, square in back; short, exaggerated, open puffed sleeves, wired at opening and gathered into bow shape, tulle ruffle at armhole; integral cummerbund at bodice back; center back lace-up closure. Skirt: Floor-length, flat front, pleated in back; pink ribbed silk lining. Garment structure Worth’s skillful use of draping and pleating showcases the shimmering highlights of this ruby-toned silk velvet. The beauty of this otherwise unadorned gown is derived from its vibrant color and the contours of the wearer’s figure. The closely fitted waist-length surplice-cut bodice features a wide neckline. The inner bodice features a pair of bones to create a rounded front busk. The bodice laces at center back and is concealed by two draped panels. The upper panel is sewn on the left side and fastens with hooks and buttonholed thread eyes on the right side seam. The back waist panel is similarly attached. The bodice is backed with taffeta. The seams are overcast by hand and the stay pockets are hand-sewn. The taffeta-lined, flared skirt has a flat front with box pleats at the back. The bias-cut front panels create a lean waistline and flare at the hem. On the inside, two sets of taffeta ties are placed 4¾” and 15¼” below the back waist to direct the skirt’s thrust to the flowing, elongated back An inside pocket of lightweight silk is located at the back. Anonymous Gift, 1942.

REFERENCE
42.146.3A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Ruby red velvet; pink ribbed silk
Label: Worth / Paris; 78972
Bodice:
Waist measurement: 23”
Skirt:
Center front length: 41½“
Center back length: 46”
Waist measurement: 22½“
Hem circumference: 235”
OTHER VIEWS