Ajax loader
ca. 1876
Afternoon dress

Background The combination of Lyon-milled, historically referenced florals with period details came to define the work of Maison Worth. This afternoon dress exemplifies the atelier’s proclivity for 18th-century inspired design in its lighthearted combination of pink and white rose sprig meanders, ecru bobbin lace tablier, and lace engageantes. Description Bodice: White satin brocade; boned, fitted, elongated-waist length, center front point, tails; sweetheart neck, pink satin yoke, lace fichu over pink satin; elbow-length sleeves, double-layered lace engageantes; pink satin bows at bust and sleeves; pink satin edging at hem; center front button closure. Skirt: White satin brocade; floor-length with train; lace over pink satin center front panel, pleated ruffle at hem; open either side center back, tiered lace flounces over pink satin insets, curved tab hem; pink bows either side center back. Garment structure This afternoon dress illustrates Worth’s ability to integrate different textures, patterns, and cut. The brocade, a seemingly simple small-scale rosebud/sprig pattern, in fact comprises at least four different sub-patterns woven in the matching background color. The fine-quality machine-produced Valenciennes is used abundantly not only in the shirred drape at the front, but also for the four tiered flounces tucked under the brocade on either side of the back skirt. A plain pink satin underlayer is used to highlight the rosebud pattern on the lace panel at the front, on the train and on the pleated hem ruffle. A single lace dust ruffle peeks out from under the rounded tab hem of the brocade train. Worn by either Mrs. Benjamin Talbot Babbitt or by Mrs. Frederick E. Hyde. Gift of Richard H. L. Sexton and Eric H. L. Sexton, 1962.

REFERENCE
62.190.3A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
White satin with floral brocade; pink satin; pink satin ribbon
Label: Worth / 7, Rue de la Paix / Paris (on waist stay)
OTHER VIEWS
ca. 1876
Afternoon dress

Background Relying primarily on its pungent aniline-derived colors for impact, this otherwise unadorned asymmetrical design illustrates Maison Worth’s ability to reserve its battery of decorative pyrotechnics for evening use. This gown showcases the confidence and precision that could produce equally spectacular daywear, as illustrated by its swallowtail-cut basque and crisp, knife-edged bustle. Description Bodice: Boned, fitted, waist-length, hip-length basque tails; band collar, lace ruffle; elbow-length sleeves, ribbon rosette at sleeve ends, engageantes; pleated integral self belt; center front button closure. Skirt: Floor-length with train, overskirt, open at front, pleated and gathered in back, flat, center front underskirt panel, self ruffles at hem, fringed taffeta swag at front from right hip to left knee; purple, fuchsia and lace ruffles at train hem; fuchsia lining. Garment structure The bodice fastens at center front with buttons and hand-worked buttonholes. It extends to the waist and is finished with a pleated cummerbund band. Long pointed tails extend below the hips and are edged with a corded piping. A small weight is concealed between the tail layers to hold them in place. The band collar is trimmed with a shirred strip of machine-made lace hand sewn to the inside. The same lace is used to trim the elbow-length sleeves, which also feature a large self-fabric rosette. Lined with fuchsia silk, the rosette’s eight loops are sewn to reveal both sides. The asymmetrical skirt has an overskirt that is open at the front. On the right-hand side, the overskirt turns back to show the contrasting facing. The overskirt is pleated and gathered in the back. The train hem is finished with knife-pleated ruffles in purple, fuchsia, and lace. The underskirt panel is flat at the center front and trimmed with a self-fabric ruffle over a fuchsia ruffle at the hem. A separate swag, fringed with purple silk and small fuchsia beads, is inserted between the two skirts at the front from the right hip to left knee. Worn by the donor's mother. Gift of Mrs. William Raymond, 1952.

REFERENCE
52.158.4A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Purple taffeta; pink machine-made lace; fuchsia, navy blue, and purple silk fringe; purple reversing to fuchsia taffeta ribbon; fuchsia taffeta lining
Label: Worth / 7 rue de la Paix / Paris
Bodice:
Center front length: 12¼”
Center back length: 13½”
Waist measurement: 24”
Skirt:
Center front length: 38½”
Center back length: 65”
Waist measurement: 27½”
Hem circumference: 109”
OTHER VIEWS
December 1878
Wedding dress

Background The Victorian formula for the virginal white wedding gown—orange blossoms and tulle—is challenged here by the rich cherry clusters of the dress made for Annie Schermerhorn. The silk tape fringe and elaborate pearl embroidery underscore an elegance closely aligned with the house’s ball gowns. Although wedding protocol closely delineated the rare exceptions under which one could re-wear a wedding gown—foremost being presentation at the Court of Saint James—the opulent beauty of this design must have presented countless temptations for a repeat wearing. Description Bodice: Boned, fitted, deep center front busk point, basque tails; square neck with stand collar, cream chiffon fichu, pearl appliqué; fitted, elbow-length sleeves, inner side satin, outer side net, pearl appliqué, knotted cream satin bands over net creating slashed effect, net frill at shoulders, ivory satin cockade at outer elbows; center front button closure. Skirt: Floor-length with train; draped at center front hip, swagged either side center back, fringe at ends; chiffon flounce, pleats at hem. Garment structure The bodice has a center front closure with self-fabric covered buttons and thread buttonholes; the square neckline has a stand collar with cream chiffon fichu and pearl appliqué. The lower edge is finished with a single satin piping. The seam allowance of the piping covers the raw edges on the wrong side. The bodice has a plain weave silk backing with boning casings sewn by hand and hand overcast seams. The skirt front is backed with silk taffeta. Two layers of self fabric were used to create the bustle. The outlining fringe is hand stitched. There is a pleated chiffon flounce at the hem and a dust ruffle around the entire skirt. Worn by Annie Schermerhorn at her marriage to John Innes Kane, December 12, 1878. Gift of Miss Fannie M. Cottenet, 1932.

REFERENCE
32.249A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Ivory and gold satin damask; cream net; cream satin; imitation pearls; ivory silk fringe; tan chiffon
Bodice:
Center front length: 12 ½”
Center back length to the bottom: 21¼”
Center back length to bow: 18”
Waist measurement: 22”
Skirt:
Center front length: 41½”
Center back length: 69”
Waist measurement: 24½”
Hem circumference: 149”
OTHER VIEWS
1879
Visiting dress

Background The tiny proportions (well under five feet) of his client did little to deter Worth from combining a wide range of textiles, trims, and finishes in the fabrication of this visiting costume. The bell-shaped skirt departs from the exaggerated bustle silhouette of the time, culminating in a slimly-seamed center-back cascade embellished by the color contrast of its crenulated hem. The dress epitomizes the verticality of the princess line. Description Redingote style, striped satin over lavender mock underdress; floor-length with slight train; bell-shaped skirt, flat in front, fuller in back; center front lavender panel, brocade mock sash crossed at right hip, draped either side of center front, brown and purple fringe at ends; lavender stand collar, integral brocade cravat; striped satin overdress, inverted pleats either side of center back, looped lavender ribbons, lavender fringe; stand collar; long, fitted sleeves, split at wrist, mock brocade undersleeve, pleated organdy cuff ruffle, lace edging; striped satin tabbed hem; center front button closure. Garment structure The dress is contoured with long vertical darts and is seamless at the waist. The floor-length overskirt hem is tabbed in a reprise of Worth’s mid-1860s designs. The 8½”-wide double dust ruffle is sewn to the underside of the hem on both the front and back of the skirt. The dress is lined with silk taffeta. The sleeves are hand sewn into the armholes and trimmed with narrow self-fabric piping, a wider brocade mock undersleeve and a pleated organdy cuff with lace edging. The edges of the seams are overcast with thread by hand. Worn by mother of donor. Gift of Mrs. Fritz J. Frank, 1940.

REFERENCE
40.74.2
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Brown self-striped satin; dot pattern floral brocade; organdy, lace, and ribbon trim; silk fringe
Label: Worth / 7, rue de la Paix / Paris (stamped in gold on the waist stay)
Center front length: 50¾”
Center back length: 67”
Waist measurement: 23½”
Hem circumference: 71”
OTHER VIEWS
1883
Fancy dress costume, “Electric Light"

Background In addition to its elaborate non-theatrical designs, Maison Worth excelled in the production of opera and theater costumes, as well as fancy dress. New York’s late-19th century grand balls were ostentatious events, the most fantastic being the masquerade balls held by the city’s upwardly mobile nouveaux riches. The event hosted by William K. Vanderbilt, on March 26, 1883, marked the completion of his $3 million limestone chateau on Fifth Avenue and was a Gilded Age spectacle. It presented “The Wealth and the Grace of New York in Varied and Brilliant Array,” according to "The New York Herald." Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt II dazzled onlookers in Worth’s masterpiece the “Electric Light.” Description Bodice: Yellow satin; fitted, waist-length, center front busk point, basque, tulle drapery falling from shoulders to below hip; low wide neck, tulle inset, cord edging; sleeveless, tinsel, pearls, and cord at armholes; bead and looped fringe at hem; center front button closure. Skirt: Yellow satin, floor-length with extensive train; golden yellow satin peplum, embroidered yellow satin overskirt, open at back, gathered at center front knee, clear bead fringe either side center front, metallic and bead fringe at hem; velvet underskirt, starburst motif embroidery, twisted fringe at hem. Garment structure Fabricated in yellow and golden yellow satin with a midnight blue velvet underskirt and yellow tulle drapery falling from the shoulders, the dress is richly embellished with flat gold and silver metallic tinsel, embroidery with applied paillettes and clear and gold beads in lightning bolt and starburst motifs. Opulent quantities of metallic tinsel and looped cord edging in scallop motif, glass pearl and gold bead fringe, metallic twisted fringe and gold looped metallic thread fringe are all used in the design. The floor-length skirt has a pronounced bustle with a yellow satin overskirt and a midnight blue underskirt. The embroidered overskirt is gathered at center front and open at the back to showcase the starburst motif embroidery on the velvet underskirt and train. The overskirt is trimmed with metallic and bead fringe at the hem while the underskirt is trimmed with twisted fringe. Worn by mother of donor, Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt II, to the Vanderbilt Ball, March 26, 1883. Gift of Countess Laszlo Szechenyi, 1951.

REFERENCE
51.284.3A-H
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Yellow satin; golden yellow satin; metallic thread embroidery; paillettes and beads; midnight blue velvet; yellow tulle with applied tinsel; tinsel and looped cord edging; glass pearls; fringe
Label: Worth / Paris (woven in block letters on petersham)
1883-84
Afternoon dress

Background The distinctive floral and organic patterns woven in Lyon for Worth became as much a house signature as customized design and workmanship. The highly dimensional rendering of the rose motifs is dramatically offset by the color depth of their background, causing them to project forward. The asymmetry of the design, with its scalloped hem and petal-pink chiffon trims, is typical of Worth’s work during this period. Description Bodice: Satin; boned, fitted, waist-length, center front busk point, sweetheart seaming at bust, inset brocade yoke; high V neck, chiffon ruffle; fitted, elbow-length sleeves, shirring at inner seam, turned-back brocade cuffs, pleated chiffon at opening; center front button closure. Skirt: Satin brocade; floor-length, flat front, pleated at back with train, hip drapery; brocade center front panel with inverted pleat reversing to rust satin, Van Dyked center front hem. Garment structure The asymmetrical skirt is floor-length with a train. The brocade front and side panels are gathered into a decorative drape on the right hip to expose the rust satin underneath. The front panel is finished with a facing. On the back, the blue satin is pleated to form the bustle and the train. Worn by mother of donor. Gift of Francis H. Markoe, 1931.

REFERENCE
31.3.5A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Dark blue satin; dark blue satin brocaded with bouquets of coral pink to rust colored roses and white stemmed flowers; petal pink chiffon; rust satin
Label: Worth / Paris
Bodice:
Center front length: 12”
Center back length: 16 1/8”
Waist measurement: 26”
OTHER VIEWS
1884
Evening dress

Background Otherwise formulaic in its classic mid-1880s silhouette and detail, this gown is distinctive in the bold contrast of its brocaded floral and solid background color. The hydrangea motif was also used by Worth in a more traditional scheme of primary rather than opposite colors to a more subtle effect. Description Skirt: Floor-length with train; center front pink satin panel with point d'esprit lace overlayer; lace drapery, hip to hem, left of center back, satin rosette below left hip. Bodice: Boned, fitted, waist-length, pleated basque; wide, V neck, point de gaze lace fichu over satin at front, lace ruffle at back; short lace sleeves, shirred and gathered satin bands at shoulders; center front lace-up closure. Garment structure The closely fitted boned bodice laces at center front to a deep V busk point. The brocade overskirt is open at the front to showcase a layer of point d’esprit lace, which scrims the center front salmon-colored panel. The lace drapes asymmetrically from the waist at center front to the back waist left of center. It is gathered just below the left hip and tacked with a satin rosette. The satin front panel has a slotted hem. Worn by mother of donor. Gift of Francis H. Markoe, 1931.

REFERENCE
31.3.4A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Aqua satin brocaded with salmon pink flowers; salmon pink satin; tea-dyed lace
Label: Worth 7. rue de la Paix. Paris
OTHER VIEWS