This weekend’s Wow could be the poster child for early Edwardian evening dress. It has it all – literally. High neck, a crazy-busy bodice with a pigeon front, attention-grabbing sleeve action, slender lines through the waist and hips, and a full train that would be the undoing of anyone so unaware as to step on it. There are solid and sheer/semi-sheer fabrics, laces, velvet and sequins; smooth textures, rough textures and soft textures; ruffles, bands and bows. And a dramatic two-color scheme. Overall, pretty hard to miss this one in a crowd (which was rather the point). I am eternally grateful I was not the lady’s maid who had to care for it.
The only thing I’d change is the bodice front. It’s just too fussy for me. But I’d keep the rest just as it is.
Evening dress, Henriette Favre*, 1902. Two-piece dress of silk (lace, net, taffeta, velvet), metal sequins, & glass beads. Pigeon-fronted bodice w/high boned collar, long sleeves, large puff at hem. Skirt lightly flared, w/many attached petticoats & sweeping train. Chicago History Museum.
*Little is known of Mme. Favre. Most surviving examples of her work are very formal, including this one. It exemplifies the fine workmanship characteristic of even the smaller couture houses in Paris.