Woman's Dressing Gown (Tea Gown)
Designed by Jeanne Hallée, French, 1880 - 1914
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In her 1902 book The Cult of Chiffon, Mrs. Eric Pritchard recommended that a wise woman clothe herself in lovely raiment, "displaying in her very faintly perfumed 'frou-frouing' draperies that delicious coquetry which no woman can afford to disdain, and which is and ever has been her greatest charm, and her greatest power." With their flowing lines and extremely feminine style, tea gowns were the essence of this Edwardian ideal. Worn for informal early evening entertaining, they were often made of chiffon, and were extolled by Mrs. Pritchard as "the garment of illusion, poetry, and mystic grace." This tea gown, created about 1907 by the Parisian house of Jeanne Hallée, which was run by two former Worth employees, comprises a gown and a sleeveless tunic. The gown, made over a boned underbodice, is of silk chiffon over silk satin and is luxuriously trimmed with self ruffles and lace. The diaphanous tunic, bordered down the front by ribbon run through ruching and decorated by ribbon bows, is further embellished with a latticework of lace and delicate fly fringe, and like the dress, is finished with bouquets of ribbon flowers with pendulous buds.