And Christmas parties got me thinking about Christmas-party-perfect gowns. So I went shopping in history. Which is the safest place to shop if you love beautiful things but don't want to risk actually buying anything.
And as I browsed, thinking about festively festooning oneself, I decided that red and green are a touch tired. I think I read in some fashion magazine that gold is "in" this year (it was out? Gold can be in or out? I thought it was just...you know...a metal). So I decided to present several options in shades of gold and white.
First up, a late 1790s round gown, nearly all ethereal white (doesn't it look heavenly, that fabric? Like clouds--they knew how to produce truly beautiful yet simple fabrics). But the gold trim adds a touch of "this is something special."
I love how this particular gown really shows the shape of the turn of the nineteenth century--the high waist, yes, but also the flatness across the bosom--a woman would have worn short stays or transitional stays with this gown, compressing her front a bit and, well, lifting the assets. Also--prime display of the enhanced fullness at the back. The lady who wore this dress for formal occassions likely used a bum pad to enhance the derriere, and the beautiful draping of the skirt.
This next piece is much less subdued--I love the dark gold fabric! I tend to shy away from 1820s dresses like this--the sleeves can come off as silly affectations, the general shape with the rounded shoulders a touch too simpering for me. But this piece stays simple, exaggerated sleeves aside, and really lets the fabric shine.
I confess a fondness for this next piece. It's a regal 1880s ballgown, and even though there is *almost* too much going on, it keeps a level head. Until someone pinned a red flower to it. Then it hits swoonworthy.
I would love to get a closer look to see how the creator of this gown acheived the layers of sheer fabric gathered just-so over the striking gold. The pattern created by this effect is just astonishing. I also love these sleeves--they're like throwbacks to the elegant engageantes of the eighteenth century.
Finally, as we turn to the twentieth century, a final golden gown. I could take or leave the lace at the neckline and sleeves, but that fabric! It's a work of art in itself (appears from close-ups to be embroidery on shimmery silk, but it's difficult to tell--any ideas?), and they way the gown plays on the pattern is gorgeous.
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