Silk dress with beads and embroidery, designer unknown

Silk dress with beads and embroidery, designer unknown

Dress (skirt and bodice)
Designer unknown
1863-5
France
Silk, hand-embroidered in black silk and cut-steel beads, trimmed with black taffeta, with a lace collar
Museum no. T.433&A-1976

Wide skirts were a focal feature of fashion during this period. By 1865 the fullness of the skirt had receded towards the back of the garment creating a flatter front. Women wore crinoline petticoats made of steel hoops under their dresses to give them this distinctive shape. Lightweight dress fabrics such as silk and muslin were popular as they draped gracefully  over the crinoline cage.

High buttoned necks with low-set sloping shoulders and puffed sleeves were also distinctive features of 1860s dress.