paris fashion

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Collection’s Highlight: Pale Green Damask Gown, Worth of Paris

According to family tradition this gown was purchased for the trousseau of Angelica Livingston Gerry, who never married. Although, we do not have an exact date the dress was purchased, the Gerry family of New York City and Newport, Rhode Island, travelled abroad nearly every year.  We do know that they travelled throughout Europe from 1893 through 1896 and returned with 50 pieces of luggage! (IMAGINE THAT?!). There was also another family trip later in the 1890s that might account for the purchase. 

What we do know is that the gown is from Worth of Paris, because look, there is a tag that says it (isn’t it nice when things work out like that). The gown is a pale green silk, which seems to look much more green in person than in the photos. The gown features remarkably wide sleeves, sharply contrasting black bow, and just a hint of the colonial revival to its shape. It was Charles Worth that introduced the world to a dress silhouette with enormous sleeves and smooth trains which quickly gained popularity over the decade. 

As a budding fashion historian I am in no place to lecture the interwebs about Charles Worth or the House of Worth.  Instead, I would like to direct your attention to a very engaging and succinct podcast from the illustrious Stuff You Missed In History Class on the subject of Worth. 

@missedinhistory

Dress, ca 1890-1901, Worth of Paris, silk. The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Mrs. Elbridge T. Gerry, N0080.1969. Full dress photograph by Richard Walker .