Dress (“robe à la française”)
This is a typical Rococo period women’s dress, “robe à la française”. The ensemble shown here consists of a gown, the petticoat much like what we would call a skirt today, and a stomacher made in a triangular panel shape. The gown opens in the front, and has large pleats folded up at the back. All this would be worn after formed with a corset and pannier, which acted as underclothes. Until clothing accepted drastic changes with the 1789 French Revolution, rich outfits, such as is shown here, were worn.
During 18th century France, the court culture termed “Rococo” blossomed. The clothes of this period, like those shown here, used luxurious silk textiles made in Lyon, France. The dress itself, in addition to already utilizing decorative textile, also adorned lace, ribbon, artificial flowers, and other ornaments were excessive but represented sophisticated spirits.
Lucy Christina Wallace
Dress characterized by pale colouring and delicate decoration. The skirt section is three-layered, with the front opening of the overskirt giving glimpses of a large number of decorations in tulle and lace patched together, with silk satin ribbons and flowers.
As a result of World War I, fashion turned rapidly in the direction of simplicity. However, many women still longed for the decorative, traditional styles, providing a clientele for Lanvin and Lucile. This dress exudes that nostalgic feminine atmosphere, but the length is short enough to show the ankles, signalling the new age.
Pendant in the Shape of a Knotted Dragon
3rd Century B.C.
A superb example of early Chinese jade carving, this pendant takes the form of a slender dragon whose serpentine body makes a graceful loop. Deep grooves cut into the body give it the appearance of a twisted rope as well as enhance the impression of power. The sinuous dragon, with its curving body and snarling jaws—a prevalent decorative motif in the late Eastern Zhou period—was inspired by the art of the West, which the nomads of the Eurasian steppes brought to their Chinese neighbors.
This is one of two extant dresses bearing a Mme. Olympe label. Olympe Boisse was a French-born New Orleans dressmaker who regularly traveled to Paris to keep abreast of trend-setting French fashions of the time.such as those by Charles Frederick Worth and Emile Pingat. Mme. Olympe, as she was professionally known, initially was an importer of French goods but in time designed and sold her own garments. Her claim to fame is that, considering the date of this dress, she was one of the first, if not the first, American dressmakers to label her gowns, a practice intiated by Worth et Bobergh in the early 1860s.
Evening Ensemble (Detail)
House of Worth
This is truly an attention getting gown with fantastical themes. The fantasy here is depicted in the bodice which imitates a peasant’s cotton blouse and is played against the traditional 18th century and neoclassical motifs in the skirt embroidery.
Left Evening dress:
This dress was designed by Christian Dior (1905-57) in 1957, the year of his death. It was commissioned by the Baroness Alain de Rothschild to wear for the state visit of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to Paris in April 1957. Many grand events were held during the visit, such as dinners at the Louvre, Versailles and the Elysée Palace, and also visits to the opera and races.
Middle Evening Dress:
Lady Gladwyn was the wife of the British Ambassador to Paris from 1954 to 1960. She hosted the state visit of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at the Embassy in April 1957, and invited her great friend Diana Cooper to attend the dinner held at the British Embassy on Tuesday 9 April, at which this dress was probably worn. It was designed by Pierre Balmain (1914-82), and the bodice features the appliqué technique favoured by him.
Right Evening Dress:
While the dress’s surface is a soft, delicate lace, in contrast the underpinnings are highly structured: its petticoat features a boned bodice and a crinoline skirt. The pale violet colour and two-tiered skirt suggest a romantic view of women’s fashion.
This ball gown is simplistic in design, yet extravagant by the choice of materials used. The sheer overlayer is enhanced by the solid lamé underlayers and a sense of luxury is added by the hidden lace flounce at the hem. Undoubtedly, a woman would make an entrance in this dress, as it is extremely seductive with its form fitting silhouette and low décolleté.
The most prevalent type of parasol in the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection is light colored taffeta overlaid with black lace. The parasol seen here is set apart from the rest by the charming configuration of the handle. Very unique, the ivory horse’s hoof is complete with studs at the bottom.