Dress, designer unknown

Dress, designer unknown

Dress
Designer unknown
About 1885
Great Britain
Jacquard-woven silk, mother-of-pearl, cotton and whalebone
Museum no. Circ.204&A-1958
Given by Rev. W.H. Padget

This elegant bustle dress displays a dense pattern of violets springing from a bed of vine leaves. The design would have been woven by a powered jacquard loom and is an example of good commercially produced fabric.

The floral design complements the construction of this dress, accentuating the closely fitted lines of the bodice and drapery on the front of the skirt. It also flows in sweeping folds over the bustle, which by the mid-1880s jutted out almost at right angles from behind. Bustles were often a separate structure attached around the waist and included crinolettes made of steel half-hoops, down-filled pads and wire mesh structures. By 1885 the bustle was often incorporated into the back of the foundation skirt itself in the form of a small pad attached to the waistband and horizontal rows of steel which could be pulled into a curved shape. This dress has a foundation skirt of grey denim that is cut straight in front and gathered and pleated at the back to follow the lines of the separate bustle worn underneath.