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Woman's Evening Dress: Bodice and Skirt

Designed by Charles Frederick Worth, English (active Paris), 1825 - 1895. Worn by Mrs. Ernest Fenollosa, American, 1858 - 1920.

Made in Paris, France, Europe

c. 1886-1887

Silk satin, faille, and brocade with lace and rhinestones

Bodice Waist: 20 inches (50.8 cm) Center Back Length: 13 1/2 inches (34.3 cm) Center Front Length: 38 3/8 inches (97.5 cm) Circumference: 13 feet 1 1/4 inches (399.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Owen Biddle, 1978

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This elegant evening dress was worn by Mrs. Ernest Fenollosa, first wife of the eminent professor and art historian of Japanese art, who with her husband lived in Tokyo for twelve years. The gown was worn about the time her husband became the director of Japan's Imperial Museum in Tokyo, possibly for her presentation at the Imperial court. The layering of texture, color, and pattern in this gown with its distinctive floral brocade, satin, faille, and lace pays homage to France's unrivaled textile industry. The designer's special relationship with the silk mills of Lyon allowed him to dictate the colors, patterns, and weaves that he required. During the Fenollosas' time in Tokyo, the Empress of Japan adopted Western dress for public appearances beginning in 1886.