This gown is made from a very special fabric which was woven à la disposition to fit the shape and dimensions of the skirt so that the butterflies flutter upward from the hem and, being graduated in size, seem to disappear in the distance.
House of Worth’s Tea Gown, 1900-1901, French Met Museum
This is a nice example of the teagown made by the House of Worth. This shows the luxurious lifestyle indicative of prominent women of the time. The teagown could be worn without a corset and was therefore a more comfortable form of dress in which one could greet guests at home. Teagowns were a particular vehicle for historicism and fantasy as evidences here with its deliberate interpretation of the 18th-century robe and petticoat form.
Evening Dress House of Worth Jean-Philippe Worth 1900
The flowing S-curve silhouette of this dress is typical of its time. A water’s-edge pattern and plant pattern, lined up in a coordinated fashion, is appliquéd and embroidered onto thin silk chiffon and expressed three-dimensionally. The influence of Art Nouveau, a decorative art style popular from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th, is evident. It seems as if the plant pattern arranged on the skirt is of Japanese iris, blooming on the waterfront. This stylized pattern makes one recall the plants that appear in the sketch collection supervised by the artists Eugène Grasset (1845–1917) and E.A. Séguy (1889-1985) who were affected on Japonism. These stylized designs were first applied to textiles.
This long evening mantle made of purple silk, is embroidered with flowers in shades of pink, blue, white and green. It has a dark blue velvet band on the front and at both wrists. The mantle is gathered at the front and at the back where a flower made of purple silk is applied.
The mantle shows the influence Fauvism and Japonism had on colours and fashion styles during this period. Another powerful influence on fashion was Les Ballets Russes, with their Oriental-inspired themes and costumes. Evening mantles, such as this one, would become increasing fashionable especially during the early 1920s, when the public responded to the rage for anything Oriental.
Jean-Philippe Worth’s stately, yet spectacular afternoon dress was commissioned by an older client, to be worn in her capacity as mother-of-the-bride. The Lyon-produced textile depicts a stylized “kousa” or Japanese flowering dogwood—distinguished by its petal-like pointed bracts, and bamboo canes. The judicious placement of the kaleidoscopically- seamed motifs amplifies the power of the silk’s visual effect and interjects an additional dimension of artistry into the design. Some of the most beautiful seaming occurs at the bodice center back, which provides a delicately scaled preview of the larger motif mirroring of the skirt. The contours of the skirt are as much determined by the textile’s sweeping motifs as the motifs themselves are enhanced by the contouring. Despite its conservative design and narrow front, the skirt back opens out into a surprisingly luxurious train. The train’s overlapping knife-pleated panels repeat the mirroring of the bodice back and center front of the dress.
The calculated mirroring of the center back seam takes great advantage of the elongating potential of the fabric’s floral patterning.