Ajax loader
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
ca. 1905
Evening dress

Background
This evening dress marks a stylistic transition from a 19th-century broken silhouette, created by separate bodice and straight-grained skirt panels, to a new continuous, flowing shape. Its sleek fit is achieved through the use of bias panels and accentuated through its execution in a single color. Worth here chooses a sparsely patterned, woven and velvet star brocade, which he monochromatically augments with the addition of applied velvet stars and crystal brilliants.

Description
Floor-length with train; fitted satin bodice, asymmetric front, mock wrap-and-tie at left waist, satin streamers with tassel ends, net insertions, applied brilliants and metallic cord, clear bead stars; wide square neck; short lace sleeves, satin ribbons at shoulders; full skirt, flat in front, small bustle in back.

Garment structure
The individual skirt sections of the trumpeting skirt are cut narrower at the top to reduce bulk at the waist. The scale of both woven silk and velvet stars graduates from small-scale near the waist line, to large-scale near the hem. To provide visual continuity, some of the larger velvet stars have been cut from yardage and applied to sparse sections. In other cases where the motifs fall on a seam, half of the star has been cut around, beyond the seam allowance, and applied over the adjoining seam line. The gown lacks its original skirt lining.

Gift of Mrs. George S. Amory, 1944.

REFERENCE
44.158.1
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Off-white satin with brocaded and applied cream silk and ecru velvet stars; cream lace; applied brilliants and metallic cord; tassels; clear bead, silver spangles, and brilliants; cream net
Label: Worth / Paris; 51243
Center front length: 40 ¾”
Center back length: 85”
Waist measurement: 21 ½”
Hem circumference: 180”
1907
Tailor-made suit

Background
Worth here presents his take on the modern tailor-made suit by fusing its mannish jacket and matching contained skirt with the more feminine lines of a late-19th century gown. The slim upper skirt explodes at the hem into a cumbersome fullness.

Description
Jacket: Jacket and vest effect; below-hip length, fitted to waist; top-stitched pleats from waist to hem, mock jacket opening with curved pendants either side of center front; round, scalloped neck, taffeta edging extending into center back diamond-shaped appliqué; embroidered satin mock vest with round neck; full, double-box pleated sleeves, chevron-shaped top-stitching at elbow, curved wool and taffeta bands at wrist; top-stitched rose taffeta butterfly-shaped girdle; braid buttons on girdle and at wrists; applied tassels either side of center front; center front hook-and-eye closure; cream brocade lining.

Skirt: Floor-length, gored, box pleats falling from hip darts, chevron topstitching at knee: vertical looped bands of taffeta applied knee to hem; taffeta underskirt, accordion-pleated dust ruffle.

Garment structure
The butterfly-shaped taffeta girdle is machine-stitched with multiple rows of topstitching and covers the waist seam; braid-covered buttons are sewn on the ends. The full sleeves are pleated into two box pleats at the cuffs. Each of the pleats is embellished with a machine stitched chevron design at the elbow. The flared and pleated skirt of thigh-length jacket is unlined; the bodice and sleeves are lined with cream brocade woven with a carnation pattern.

The jacket’s flowing lines resolve into a flaring floor-length gored skirt. Echoing the details of the jacket, the skirt has chevron topstitching at the knee and bias strips applied from the knee to hem. The vertical bias trim has an oval above the same diamond shape used on the jacket back. The hem is topstitched by machine. The taffeta underskirt has an accordion-pleated dust ruffle.

Gift of Mrs. Laurance Rockefeller, 1981.

REFERENCE
81.43.1A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Rose worsted wool broadcloth; rose taffeta; cream satin embroidered with stemmed flowers in a meandering pattern; rose-colored silk braid and beaded tassels; cream satin floral brocade
Label: Worth
Jacket:
Length: 28 ½”
Hem circumference: 93 ½”
Skirt:
Center front length: 40”
Center back length: 47 ¼”
Hem circumference: 242”