Afternoon Dress
Jean-Phiippe Worth

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.


A Maison Worth cyclamen pink wool evening coat, circa 1910,

Djellabah inspired with couched gold thread embroidery to the shoulders, wide dolman sleeves edged with elaborate silk cord and gold thread macramé fringes and tassels, two large matching pendants to the back below crochet tulips Jean Philippe Worth was the chief designer at this period

Tea gown House of Worth Jean-Philippe Worth (1905 Culture: French Medium: silk, metal This was worn by the wife of one of the great American bankers of the 19th century, J.P. Morgan, Jr. (1867-1943). It exemplifies the grandeur of Worth clothing among wealthy Americans, who aspired to be associated with European royalty.


1897 House of Worth, Fancy dress costume, “Infanta Margarita after Velasquez”

White satin overlaid with alternating rows of white organza ribbon and galon d'argent bands; white organza; cream machine-made lace; silver metallic “lei” with spangles; pink taffeta ribbon; brilliants; black velvet ruched ribbon; rhinestone order backed by pink taffeta cockade

“In early 1897, Jean-Philippe Worth received a rush order for a fancy dress costume from a regular client via transatlantic cable. Recreating the costume worn by the Infanta as portrayed by Velasquez through the use of modular components and an accurate dress form maintained for his client, Worth was able to complete and ship his commission back to New York 24 hours later.”

Museum of the City of New York