Wioman's Dress: Evening Bodice, Day Bodice, and Skirt

Designed by Charles Frederick Worth, English (active Paris), 1825 - 1895. Label Worth & Bobergh, Paris, France, 1857 - 1870.

Geography:
Made in France, Europe

Date:
c. 1867-1870

Medium:
Silk satin with lace and silk tulle

Dimensions:
Evening Bodice Center Back Length: 13 inches (33 cm) Skirt Center Back Length: 72 inches (182.9 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1996-19-5a--c

Credit Line:
125th Anniversary Acquisition. Gift of the heirs of Charlotte Hope Binney Tyler Montgomery, 1996

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Additional information:
  • PublicationBest Dressed: Fashion from the Birth of Couture to Today

    Charles Frederick Worth became the dominant figure of French fashion during the early 1860s, transforming the craft of dressmaking into the art of haute couture. With his unflagging invention, experimentation with construction techniques, and genius for self-promotion, he laid the foundations for the next century of high fashion. In the traditionally feminine field of fashion, the success of a man--and an Englishman at that--was unprecedented and somewhat scandalous. Nevertheless, the firm that Worth had founded with his Swedish business partner Otto Gustaf Bobergh gained the patronage of the French empress Eugénie as well as the right to use the imperial coat of arms on its label. In this charming evening dress from about 1870, Worth utilized only one fabric, a shimmering satin beautifully suited to the full, back-gathered skirt that characterized fashion's transition from hoop to bustle. Its graceful train is edged with rows of self ruffles, which inspired by eighteenth-century styles, are also applied up each side to give the appearance of an overskirt open to show off three tiers of fabric swags. Sparingly finished with tulle and lace, the dress exemplifies Worth's renowned ability to create "simple" styles as well as the extravagant apparel that suited this era of excess. Dilys E. Blum and H. Kristina Haugland, from Best Dressed: Fashion from the Birth of Couture to Today (1997) pp. 6-7.