Ajax loader
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
1900
Ball gown

Background Although freestanding butterflies were an established Worth motif, this example is extraordinary in its pairing of applied jet-outlined and sequined butterflies with dragonflies. It is a recent discovery that the gown’s original owner was Mrs. J. P. Morgan, Jr., rather than Mrs. Morgan, Sr. This a logical re-attribution in that its actual owner was herself a botanical artist, who designed and maintained gardens at both her country estate in Hertfordshire, England, and on Long Island. Description Bodice: Boned, fitted; waist-length, center front busk point, center back tails; gathered white net plastron; square neck; black net sleeves fitted to elbow, engageante-style from elbow to below wrist. Skirt: Trumpet shape; floor-length with train. Garment structure The bodice laces at center front and is then concealed by the plastron, which fastens with hooks and eyes on the left side. All of the hand embroidery was the work of the Parisian embroidery concern Michonet, the forerunner of the embroidery couture house of Lésage. Taffeta dress shields are sewn in under the arms. The trumpet-shaped skirt is floor length with a rounded train. The skirt’s silhouette is shaped by two underskirts—a chiffon skirt and a lined satin skirt. The hem of the net skirt is folded to the right side and covered with a small pleated net ruffle. The chiffon skirt has two very full ruffles, the wider atop the narrower. Both have selvage edges. The satin skirt has a taffeta dust ruffle: pinked at both edges, gathered, and applied by hand with running stitches. Worn by Mrs. J. P. Morgan, Jr. Gift of Mrs. J. J. Crain, 1944.

REFERENCE
44.7A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Black net over black china silk; iridescent blue and gold silk, black beads, blue and black sequins in dragonfly and butterfly motifs applied overall; cream net
Label: Worth / Paris
Bodice:
Center front length: 14¾”
Waist measurement: 31”
Skirt:
Center front length: 46”
Center back length: 65½”
Waist measurement: 31”
OTHER VIEWS
1902
Evening coat

Background During the mid-19th century the French term "confection" referred to ready-made unfitted or loosely fitted cloaks and outer garments, sold by purveyors of dry goods. This flowing coat, with its stylized out-scale rose motif, falls into this category. Its oversized repeat and percussive, jagged pattern evoke the bizarre silks of the early 18th century. Juxtaposed with a petal-pink brocade lapel facing, and trimmed with softly knife-pleated chiffon ruffles, all components meld to make this coat one of the sweetest, most feminine garments of the collection. Description Full, flaring from shoulders; floor-length, slight train; oversized notched lapels, double, standing Medici-style collar at back; long, wide sleeves with deep turned-back cuffs, white chiffon ruffles; puffed satin undersleeve, pink and white chiffon ruffles, pink and white ruched bands at wrist; V-shaped yoke, Watteau-style back; pink and white ruched chiffon and chiffon ruffles at yoke, collar, lapels, and center front. Garment structure Typical of Jean-Philippe’s designs for this period, this coat mixes historical metaphors, blending a raised 15th-century Medici-style collar with an 18th-century French Watteau-style back. Its boned standing collar can be worn both upright and framing the face, or falling. The back has a wide, dropped, lightly tucked pressed pleat which flares from the V of its yoke into a contained train. The long, wide sleeves are sewn into the cloak by hand. They have deep turned-back cuffs with white chiffon ruching and puffed satin undersleeves with pink and white pleated ruffles at the wrist. Gift of Mrs. Robert D. Sterling, 1962.

REFERENCE
62.85.1
TECHNICAL DETAILS
White brocade and pink brocade in undulating pattern; pink satin brocaded with floral motifs; cream lace, pale pink chiffon; white chiffon
Label: Worth / Paris; 18265
Center front length: 57”
Center back length: 62”
1904
Ball gown

Background This gown provides yet another example of Jean-Philippe Worth’s enthusiastic approach toward designing for his large-scale clientele. Although it is devoid of its petersham and Worth signature, the gown’s floral motifs contribute to its attribution: they are identical to Michonet-produced embellishments depicted in a surviving Worth archival image dating to 1904. The gown waistband retains its ink-inscribed toile number—70588. Description Bodice: Boned, fitted, waist-length with center front rounded point; wide, square neck, chiffon underlayer, draped lace overlayer, ribbon at bust; elbow-length lace sleeves, applied allium blossoms, satin bow; band of brilliants at shoulders. Skirt: Floor-length with train; chiffon with lace overlayer inset center front from knee to hem and at train; allium flower appliqués all around, knee to hem. Garment structure The asymmetrical bodice is cut off-grain and pleated and draped to fit. The lacing at center back is concealed by a lace panel at the top and a pleated drape at the waist edge. The elbow-length, 18th-century style sleeves overlay a layer of chiffon with one of embellished lace. Two rows of brilliants are applied across the shoulders in semblance of separate straps. The skirt is cut away below knee level and lace applied in a scalloped design and under laid by chiffon cut with the selvage at the hem edge. Gift of Mrs. William Pollock, 1928.

REFERENCE
28.70.7A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Cream satin, chiffon, and lace; pale green and metallic tissue allium flower appliqué, applied brilliants set onto silk net; clear beads, iridescent sequins, and silver metallic thread outlining leaves and stem; pale green satin ribbon
Label: 70588 (style number in ink on inside waistband)
ca. 1905
Ball gown

Background The stiff, heavy velvets and dense satins had waned in popularity by the time Worth approached the design of this grand ball gown. Here, a more flexible, lighter weight velvet provides the fluid backdrop for embellishment, allowing the fabric to be flow with the heavier silver lace and looped chenille. A popular sleeve treatment during this period combines a shoulder strap with a loose decorative flounce, revealing the upper arm—focusing on a new erogenous zone. Description Bodice: Boned, fitted, waist-length; diagonal lace panel over taffeta at bust, velvet draped at waist, curved at hem; square neck; short lace sleeves; silver lace edging at bust; three swags of fringe at upper arms; garland at left side extending over shoulder. Skirt: Floor-length, flat in front, full in back extending into train; gathers and tucks at center front waist; pleats at back; silver lace and fringe swags at hem front; two tiers of lace applied at hem all around. Garment structure The gown’s closely fitted waist-length bodice features a diagonal lace panel over taffeta at the bust, a pleated velvet drape at the waist and a shallow curve at the hem. Scalloped metallic lace is applied below the cream lace. The short lace sleeves have three swags of fringe at upper arms with a large red and light pink rose garland on the left side extending over the shoulder. At the neck edge, the lace is stiffened with hairpin shaped stays to prevent the lace scallops from drooping. The stays are covered with narrow-gauge silk tubing. The bodice back features a center-back lacing taffeta underbodice. The left back panel is covered with cream lace and extends beyond the center to hook at the right back. The lace, which is mounted on organza crosses the upper back and hooks into the right shoulder. The right back velvet panel crosses the back, draped to diminish in width, and fastens at the left underarm seam with a hook-and-eye closure. The floor-length skirt is flat in front and has stand-up darts either side of center front. Its very full back is pleated and gathered at the waist falling into a rounded, spreading train. The skirt front is trimmed with swags of the metallic lace and chenille fringe. Two rows of metallic lace are applied to the hem, including the train. Worn by mother of donor. Gift of Mrs. Harry T. Peters, 1956.

REFERENCE
56.229.1A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Pale blue velvet; cream lace; metallic lace with intertwined chenille yarn; fringe; cream taffeta; silk rose garland
Label: Worth / Paris; 67656
Bodice:
Center front length: 13 1/8”
Center back length: 9 ½”
Waist measurement: 31”
OTHER VIEWS