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Evening coat

Background The 15th-century Italian-inspired grand-scale foliate of this voided-velvet coat harkens back to Maison Worth’s founder’s passion for oversized motifs in sumptuous fabrics. The evening coat’s silhouette conforms to typical 1920s format. But, consistent with house tradition, what appears only as a luxurious ermine collar and cuffs is in truth a complete ermine lining. Description Unfitted, seamless back; mid-calf length; rolled ermine collar; shoulders ease into tapered, modified raglan sleeves, deep barrel-shaped ermine cuffs, cream satin backing; ermine loop-and-button closure; ermine lining. Garment structure Fabricated of voided silk velvet and winter ermine, the coat’s fur lining spills out from within to turn and form its mounding, diagonally-seamed rolled collar and broad cuffs. The unfitted body of the coat falls softly from the shoulders. The modified raglan sleeves are piped where they join the coat. The coat lining rises at neck level to form the contrasting tubular collar, its excessive length covering the chin in rolls of ermine. The mid-calf length nods to the new, less formal guidelines for evening wear. The coat fastens on the right front with a button-loop and ermine covered button. Purchased for donor by her father, Mr. J. P. Morgan, Sr., at Worth/Paris. Gift of Mrs. Paul Pennoyer, 1982.

Cherry red voided velvet in 15th-century, Italian-inspired intertwining foliate motif; ermine; cream satin
Evening dress

Background A shimmering column of featherweight satin, this evening chemise is characterized by its regal sophistication, retaining the elitist flavor of Worth’s earlier works. Its design reflects an overall change in the house’s client base demographic and its new efforts to design for the aging bodies of former Gilded Age beauties. Despite the entry of a new roster of couture innovators, these women remained sentimentally loyal to the firm they had always known. Description Chemise; below-knee length; dropped waist; scoop neck; sleeveless; applied brilliants and beads forming serpentine motif around hip; outer skirt densely embroidered overall in patterned brilliants hip to hem, open center front; inner skirt, applied lace at center front; piping at neck and armholes; left side hook-and-eye closure. Garment structure This simple drop-waist dress is devoid of any body-shaping inner structure. Sleeveless, with a scooped neck, the silhouette becomes a backdrop for the stylized Art Deco geometric motifs applied from hip to hem. The edges of the neck and armholes are hand-finished with a narrow binding. The dress has a matching slip. Belonged to Mrs. Beekman Winthrop. Gift of Mr. Robert Winthrop, 1986.

Ivory satin; silver metallic machine-made lace; mine-cut brilliants, graduating in color from pale gray to deep slate applied in circular geometric motifs; white brilliants; silver-tone glass beads
Label: Worth
Center front length: 37”
Center back length: 36”
Hem circumference: 53”
Evening dress

Background Widths of selvage-edged jade silk are shot with gold metallic lamé and draped to achieve this dramatic evening dress. A pendant knotted panel asymmetrically cascades from the gown’s hip, augmenting its short length and increasing its formality as would a train. Description Tubular, below-knee length; dropped waist; deep V neck opens to integral gold lace slip top with straight neck; sleeveless, applied beads at shoulders; skirt gathered at left hip with floor-length panel, beads and brilliants applied at gather; exposed selvage on panel and at hem; china silk lining. Garment structure This design departs from the basic T-shaped chemise that defined fashion during the 1920s, incorporating several Worth signature elements. The asymmetrical blouson-effect of the bodice is the result of inserting a horizontal gore to its straight-grained proper left side, allowing its excesses to roll over its seam. The roll is then basted to the china silk dress lining and is held in place by silk-encased lead couture weights. The spiraling skirt panel is joined to the unfitted bodice at hip level, surmounted by a dipping draped band. The band is finished with a self-picot edge, which is achieved by cutting and raveling the selvage. Caught back at the right hip, it is held by an elaborate bead and brilliant-encrusted leaf appliqué. This, in turn, anchors the unlined panel that diagonally floats and dips to the floor. Selvage cut from additional yardage is stitched to the panel’s end and curved sections of the drape. Worn by the donor. Gift of Mrs. Henry W. De Forest, 1955.

Jade silk brocaded in gold metallic in chinoiserie design; gold machine-made lace; clear brilliants; beads in stemmed flower motif; pink china silk
Label: Worth / Paris
Full length: 39”
Skirt length: 27”
Hem circumference: 42”
Evening dress

Background The tracery scales of this 1930s evening dress delineate and conform to the body in a manner more consistent with Worth’s earlier legacy than that of the preceding decade. Although the overall effect of this dress is derivative of comparable designs introduced and popularized by more progressive Parisian-based couture establishments, it still retains the precision topstitching and fit that characterized the product of the house. Description Dress: Velvet; tubular bodice, slightly flared skirt, ankle-length; V neck; velvet and applied rhinestone straps; applied velvet cord on net, hip to hem, in scallop pattern; right side hook-and-eye closure. Slip: Satin; coral tulle; tubular; V neck; narrow straps. Belt: Velvet; soft, draped narrow band; brilliant-set buckle. Garment structure The V-neck bodice has silk covered weights at the center front and back to control the neckline’s drape. The decorative straps have applied brilliants in an overlapping loop pattern. The dress fastens at the underarm on the right side with hooks and eyes and on the left shoulder with snaps. The graduated scallops of the skirt are specifically created for this design. They are machine-stitched to a fuchsia-colored tulle backing, which is applied to the velvet skirt. The velvet is cut away just below knee level, creating a transparent window to the slip beneath. The separate, tubular slip has a V-neck and narrow straps that are held in place by lingerie guards on the evening dress. It has two layers of light-colored fuchsia tulle under the skirt. The seams and hem are hand overcast. Gift of Mrs. Hamilton McK. Twombly, 1935.

Coral velvet; coral tulle; coral velvet cord; applied brilliants in overlapping loop pattern
Label: Worth (in slip)
Center front length: 40”
Center back length: 48”
Nape to hem length: 43”
Hem circumference: 19 ½”
Suit with blouse

Background By the mid-1930s a woman’s wardrobe was considered incomplete without an array, large or small, of suits. Going-away suits had become a trousseau necessity, far more practical and with a greater longevity than traditional lingerie. The optical effect of this suit’s precision cut graphic playfully experiments with mitering techniques that were already familiar to the house. The donor’s attribution of the unlabeled suit to Worth/Paris is substantiated by its superb design and craftsmanship. Description Jacket: Striped wool; semi-fitted, hip-length; horizontal striped yoke, front and back; round neck, foldover corners at opening; long sleeves, slits at sleeve ends, composition knots at wrist. Blouse: Striped wool; fitted, double-breasted; hip-length; deep V-shaped center front placket pieced to form chevron pattern; V-shaped, mitered striped back yoke; round neck, striped stock tie; short sleeves with triangular shaped striped insets; bib drop-front, button closure Skirt: Red wool; slightly flared, below-knee length; red leather belt with covered buckle. Garment structure Fabricated in a raised woven stripe wool crepe, this striking suit features V-shaped insets, creating chevron effects by directionally changing the grain from vertical to horizontal on the jacket and blouse. Although not always precisely matched, the overall optical effect of the seaming is virtuosic. The six-panel skirt has a slight flare and no waistband, instead; the waist edge is finished with a grosgrain ribbon facing. Worn by the donor as her “going-sway” suit. Gift of Mrs. John Walden Myer, 1953.

Compound weave wool, red stripe on cream crepe ground; red random slubbed wool; red lacquered composition buttons; red patent leather
Attributed to Worth/Paris
Center front length: 23 1/8”
Center back length: 20 7/8”
Hem circumference: 32¾“
Length: 28 3/8” (shortened 1 3/8” from original)
Hem measurement: 44½”
Evening dress

BACKGROUND - The design of this gown, although quickly altered by the house to be worn to the 1953 London coronation, more likely dates to the previous year and owes its design to Roger Worth, the great-nephew of Charles Frederick, who retired in 1952. Even at this late date, it retains details that defined the house’s Gilded Age splendor: the use of opulent textiles, the decorative use of selvage, and the use of obverse and reverse sides in the draping process. The Paris atelier was purchased by Paquin in 1954 and forever closed its doors two years later. Worth/London closed in 1967. DESCRIPTION - Dress: Ankle-length; fitted bodice; surplice front; open neck; turned-back shawl collar with exposed selvage edges extending to V-back; sleeveless; full skirt, pleated either side center front; hip panels, draped at sides, pleated at back, exposed selvages; center back zipper. Belt: Self belt. Garment structure The unlined dress has a fitted bodice with a surplice front. The open neckline is finished with a fold-back shawl collar; it extends to a deep V neckline at the back. By using a single layer, the design is able to feature both the fabric’s face and reverse sides. The bodice is cut on the straight grain and uses the selvage to trim the edge. The full skirt is pleated with knife pleats on either side of center front with hip panels draped at the sides. The dress closes with a metal zipper at center back. Worn by donor to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, June 2, 1953. Gift of Mrs. Winthrop W. Aldrich, 1957.

Yellow silk brocaded in yellow silk and gold metallic foliate pattern
Label: Worth / 50 Grosvenor Street
Ball gown in silver and pink velvet brocade

Compound weave with silk warp, silver metallic weft, cut and uncut pink velvet brocade, en broché, in floral spray and garland patterns; silver metallic loop trim. A) Bodice: Fitted, waist-length, deep point CF; off-the-shoulder, double ruffle; short, flared, double-tiered sleeves; metallic trim, ruffles and sleeves; lace-up closure. B) Skirt: Bell shape, pleated all around; floor-length, double-tiered.