Evening dress by Worth, France

Evening dress by Worth, France

Evening dress
Designed by Charles Frederick Worth (1825 - 1895)
Paris, France
c. 1880
Pale pink and cream satin, machine-made lace
Museum no. T.63-1976
© Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The bodice is made in the Princess line, and is seamed and gored for a moulded fit. It fastens with laces at the front and has a deep, square neckline trimmed with pearl-embroidered machine- made lace. The sleeves are elbow-length and narrow but slashed, with the openings filled with lace. The bodice extends into drapes at the hips, merging with the train which falls in inverted pleats from the seams of the bodice. The border of the train is scalloped, trimmed with machine- made lace and mounted over a pleated band. The skirt has a front panel of cream satin with a formal floral pattern machine-embroidered in silk and chenille in shades of pink, bronze and green, the centre trimmed with bead tassels. The dress is lined with white silk, the bodice is boned and the skirt is hooped at the back with tapes for adjustment. Label: Worth, Paris is machine-woven on the waist-tape.

Marketing and manufacturing were changing rapidly. The first haute couture dressmaker, the Englishman Charles Frederick Worth, had opened a house in Paris in 1856 and others quickly followed suit. The earliest dress known to be by Worth is an ivory silk evening dress of 1881.