Marjorie Merriweather Post wore this dark red three-piece traveling suit to Hot Springs, Virginia, for her honeymoon in 1905. The photos and information are from the Hillwood Estate Museum. The ensemble was donated to the museum, by bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, in 1973.
Here’s some background information from the Hillwood Estate website: Marjorie Merriweather Post bought Hillwood in 1955 and soon decided her home would be a museum that would inspire and educate the public. Her northwest Washington, D.C. estate endowed the country with the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia, a distinguished 18th-century French decorative art collection, and twenty-five acres of serene landscaped gardens and natural woodlands for all to enjoy. Opened as a public institution in 1977, today Hillwood’s allure stems from the equally fascinating parts that make up the whole. From the captivating life of Marjorie Post to the exquisitely maintained Mansion and Gardens, the experience of Hillwood outshines even the Fabergé Eggs.
Unfortunately, all of the photos on the museum website come out teeny tiny for me, even when I viewed them as full-page images.
I’ve scavenged the web for larger images because it is a knockout suit. I love the color, the waist, the kabillion covered buttons and the matching boots. I wouldn’t mind a turn or two in it myself.
The blouse is composed of three different styles of ivory colored decorative lace supported by an inner, lightweight boned foundation. It has a 2-1/2″ boned collar and is trimmed with wine colored satin ribbon at sleeve, center front and waist yoke. Freeformed ribbon overlaid with soutache is also used to trim the blouse.
The gored wool skirt, simple in line, is distinguished only by double crescent shaped designs with velvet covered buttons at hem. The skirt has been relined with acetate. The same crescent shaped details are used on the midlength jacket at hem, waist and pockets. The jacket is heavily trimmed with lace, flat pleated ribbon, flat braid cording, velvet cording and decorative gold thread embroidery. The jacket alone contains 60 velvet covered buttons.
There is evidence that the garment was shortened at time of purchase. The stand collar has been removed, and poly organza was used to stabilize the garment for display. The collar no longer exists, nor are there any historical photographs showing the garment in its original state.
The garments’ dimensions were available on the museum’s site but very difficult to read. Here they are in an easier format, with both inches and centimeters.
Blouse: height from shoulder to waist front – 15 inches (38.10 cm), from shoulder to waist back – 14 inches (35.56 cm), and waist diameter of 23 1/2 inches 59.69 cm).
Skirt: Length from waist to hem front – 40 inches (101.60 cm), from waist to hem back 41 1/2 inches (105.41 cm), and hem circumference of 145 inches 368.30 cm). The skirt is constructed to accommodate a bustle pad.