Thursday, October 20, 2011
1870's Bustle Dress
From the seller:
Here is a gorgeous historical formal silk ladies' evening gown, circa late 1860's to mid 1870's. It is a lovely light pink silk with a silvery 2 tone gray damask, and a lot of stunning alençon lace which makes up the sheer sleeves and is along the front of the skirt.
This is a wonderful piece, and I would reccommend it for display, like a shadow box, or in a showcase for decoration, or to restore. It is not really in any condition to be worn. As with most clothing of this time period, there is quite a bit of wear to the fabric. It is silk, inside and out. The lining is better intact than the extertior. The silk and the damask fabric are both very volitile at this point, and there are a lot of splits where it has become brittle with age. Even so, it makes an absolutely breathtaking display piece! The seamstress who made this piece was very good, because the seams are sturdy and pretty well intact, and the detailing is wonderfully intricate! The lace is in fantastic condition! It is just gorgeous. I imagine that it was probably a lighter ivory, and has turned to more of a candle light or cream colored ivory with age. The boning in the bodice is intact and skillfully placed, making the bodice BEAUTIFULLY tailored. The closures are hook-and-eye type closures, and they look as though they may have been moved so that the dress could be a couple of inches smaller or larger in either direction. The bust is approximately 32-34" The skirt is adjustable as well, and has the same sort of closures, and goes from about a 24 inch waist to a 28 inch waist. The skirt has the wonderful box pleats typical of this era, and has graceful, flowing gathers in the silk on either side of the focal damask panel in the center of the front, giving the fabric a very fluid appearance. The beautiful lace graces either side of the damask.
I'd put this around the late 1870's, early 1880's. It looks like someone was about to alter it and decided not to. It most likely originally had some sort of matching sleeves and maybe a skirt drape in the back as well. Although the silk is shattering, the lines of the dress are still visible making it an interesting case for study.