Thursday, September 27, 2018

Friday Video: Inside an 1885 Dinner Dress

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Susan reporting,

This short but fascinating video features the work of the Costume Institute Conservation Laboratory of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The star of this video, however, is this c1885 silk dinner dress, right. Made by New York dressmaker Mme. Grapanche (her label is still stitched inside the dress), the dress represents the most extreme version of a bustle - that huge draped and constructed extension to the backside of the dress, that would have been worn over a cage-like or padded support tied around the wearer's waist. Of course, this was a high-fashion version, worn by an elite woman with a taste for drama (Madame Olenska!), but the bustle style in less exaggerated forms was popular among 1880s women of every class.

Here Jessica Regan, assistant curator in the Costume Institute, shows us what was sewn inside the dress to help support so much fabric and style. Of course, modern fashionistas might look at this in bewilderment: how does one sit in all that bustled splendor? We have the answer right here, in another Friday Video.

For another analysis of this dress, see this blog post from the Museum at FIT.


SidneyKay said...

OMG - what size is that waist?

Caroline Clemmons said...

I love the Friday videos and this is a particularly interesting.

Eric Stott said...

The waist is probably not abnormally small- think of a slim young woman or even a girl. The emphasis of the shoulders and the enormous shirt make the waist look much smaller by contrast.

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