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A House of Worth Evening Gown

squareThe Chicago History Museum has over fifty gowns from The House of Worth in its collection. Katy examines their 1890s evening gown.

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  Lovely article! The photos could be twice the size, though! I want to see the details. <3  
  I have same lace at home :)  
  What a great example! I love to see the interior and construction details, because the more Worth gowns I see, the more I see a pattern. In this period Worth had become so popular that the House was really having to churn these dresses out as fast as they could, inevitably meaning that they had a "formula". The inner silk taffeta bodice and an outer, embellished layer; the silk chiffon at the neckline; the silk taffeta underskirt (often infused with a tin solution to make it rustle - there is definitely a pattern.

I also think it's fun to imagine what this would have looked like new. Like the, the silver on this gown is inevitably tarnished - it would have been bright, metallic silver, quite stunning, when new.
  Finally, the classical Greek/Napoleonic motif had great meaning for Worth. Worth the father, who died in this year as you said Katy, owed his monumental rise to success to the brief Second Napoleonic Empire in the 1860s. Paris had been full of the stinking rich aristocrats, foreign royalty, and a whole cast of characters who went to multiple balls each week and needed new dresses for each one - Worth was their hero, and chief among his patrons was the Empress Eugenie herself.

After the fall of that regime, Worth did claw back his business, but it depended more on visiting foreigners, especially the wealthy American industrialists' wives and Dollar Princesses like Mary Curzon (American heiresses who married English aristocrats). Although by 1895 the House's position was once again secure, Worth never forgot the people who made his name. Even in her exile in England, he continued to send violets to the Empress on her birthday and treat her as royalty.
  This is great, and a well timed article for me! I'm making an 1890s evening bodice (although nowhere near this elaborate) and have been having a hard time finding any examples of the inside, let alone these detailed construction notes. Day bodices galore, but very few evening bodices. This is very helpful!  

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