Time for part two of my costume history themed posts! The 19th century brought a change in women's silhouette which, from 1840 onward, was dominated by a restrictive corset and layers of crinoline petticoats. In the 1860s, the shape of the crinoline changed into that of the rear bustle and only in the 1890s the skirt returned to a relatively slender shape. However, in spite of the elegance, beautiful decorations and luxurious materials, the dresses where rather uncomfortable due to the restrictive corset which refused to step out of the limelight :P
I'd better let the pictures speak for themselves along with the descriptions from the Met Museum. Enjoy!
I will once again start with my favourite three dresses (I adore the colours, the shapes and the patterns of the first three dresses, but that doesn't mean that the rest are not equally amazing).
Evening dress by R.H. White & Company (1885) made of silk and feathers
The Met's official description of 19th century fashions: "The bustle silhouette, although primarily associated with the second half of the 19th century, originated in earlier fashions as a simple bump at the back of the dress.The full-blown bustle silhouette had its first Victorian appearance in the late 1860s, which started as fullness in skirts moving to the back of the dress. This fullness was drawn up in ties for walking that created a fashionable puff. This trendsetting puff expanded and was then built up with supports from a variety of different things such as horsehair, metal hoops and down. Accessories were petite and allowed for the focus on the large elaborate gowns. Around 1874, the style altered and the skirts began to hug the thighs in the front while the bustle at the back was reduced to a natural flow from the waist to the train. This period was marked by darker colours, asymmetrical drapery, oversize accessories and elongated forms created by full-length coats. Near the beginning of the 1880s the trends altered once again to include the bustle, this time it would reach its maximum potential with some skirts having the appearance of a full shelf at the back. The dense textiles preferred were covered in trimming, beadwork, puffs and bows to visually elevate them further. The feminine silhouette continued like this through 1889 before the skirts began to reduce and make way for the S-curve silhouette."
Dinner dress (1880-1882)
Dress from 1885 made of silk, rhinestones and metal
American silk dress (1880-1885)
French dress by Mme. Martin Decalf (1882-1883) made of silk
Evening Dress by House of Worth (1887-1889) made of silk
American silk dress (1878-1880)
Evening dress by House of Worth (1887) made of silk and metal
Description: "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."
Ball gown by House of Worth (1898) made of silk, rhinestones and metal
Description: "This gown is made from a very special fabric which was woven à la disposition to fit the shape and dimensions of the skirt so that the butterflies flutter upward from the hem and, being graduated in size, seem to disappear in the distance."
Evening dress by Duval and Eagan (1889) made of silk
French dress (1867-1869) made of silk and cloth
Silk French dress (1865)
Ball gowns by House of Worth (1887) made of silk and metallic thread
That's a wrap with 19th century fashion. Do you have any favourites from the dresses above?
Next post will be about early 20th century fashion (my favourite). I saved the best for last :)
Talk to you soon x