Dress, designer unknown

Dress, designer unknown

Dress
Designer unknown
About 1888
Great Britain
Satin, with machine-embroidered panels and silk collar, cuffs and front with a velvet warp-figured stripe
Museum no. T.164&A-1937
Given by Miss Sophie B. Steel

This trained overdress is styled to suggest a man's coat of the Directoire period in France. (In the aftermath of the French Revolution, the years 1795 to 1799 were a time when the country was run by an executive power - the five 'Directors' - that was in turn overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte.) The Queen magazine of August 1888 illustrated a very similar 'Directoire' reception dress, and in November of that year commented: 'the petticoat falls in gathers from the waist . . . corresponding with the large revers (and) . . . the large cuffs . . . The sides of the coat hang down plain and straight . . . all the fullness being gathered into a cluster in the centre of the back below the waist.'

This dress is made of satin. The bodice fronts are faced with machine-embroidered panels and trimmed with Japonaiserie (Japanese-inspired exoticism) buttons of cast-metal. The dress fastens with a half-belt and buckle. The collar, cuffs and front of the separate skirt are made of silk with a velvet warp-figured stripe. The skirt is mounted on glazed cotton and over a boned foundation.