The tea gown was intended to be worn at home while greeting receiving people. As with most other 19th century garments it did not require the wearer to don a corset underneath. This level of comfort was only permissible in one’s own home. An interesting construction aspect of this tea gown is the back, which resembles a redingote and adds a masculine touch to a highly feminine garment.
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.
While white is now de rigueur for bridal attire, the fashion for white wedding gowns originated only in the late 19th century and was not commonplace until the 20th century. This dress is a good example of the more practical 19th century practice of brides wearing colored gowns for weddings. The wedding dresses could then be worn again for other receptions and social events. A well-made and finely-detailed example of the period, this dress would have been described as a “cuirass” or “cuirass style” at the time it was made, a term that refers to the form-fitted bodice. A steel-boned corset helped to achieve the ideal figure for the cuirass style in the 1870s and 1880s.
This beautifully constructed Pingat cape gains a rich and elegant appearance from its use of coordinating black beadwork embroidery on alternating flat and pleated panels of contrasting materials. That elegance can particularly be seen in the front where the embroidery on the two flannel panels line up to create a larger cohesive design oriented horizontally, as opposed to the other panels which are vertically oriented.