John Redfern (1853-1929)
Museum no. T.32-1960
Worn by Miss Heather Firbank
The high-waisted black cashmere kimono-like gown is trimmed with striking notes of purple and a wide draped purple sash of silk crepe. It has an unusual bodice (without centre back seam), incorporating bat-wing sleeves with long, tapered cuffs and a wired 'Tudor'-style, heart-shaped collar. The gown wraps over and fastens along the left front with tiny press-studs under a line of blind buttonholes with pendant buttons.
This is from the collection of Heather Firbank (1888-1954), daughter of the MP Sir Thomas Firbank and sister of the novelist Ronald Firbank. The dress is a half-mourning dress, meaning that it was worn in the later stages of mourning. Mourning etiquette was well controlled and what could be worn at each stage was rigidly prescribed.