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Edwardian tea dress

#2498         $1,275  Sold

Embroidered lace tea dress, c.1910

I love the layered designs of the 1910s. This beauty combines embroidered cutwork panels of cotton batiste with an assortment of machine laces. What a great choice for an informal wedding! Or wear it anytime you want to feel unabashedly romantic.

The machine made laces of the period are of better quality than modern lace. The textured design uses delicate Valenciennes lace and bold Cluny-style lace to frame the panels of embroidered cutwork. On the bodice, the central floral motif is like an esoteric emblem, not heraldic but rather artistic, the badge of the fashion initiate.

On the skirt, the designer has demarcated three panels to tell a story of feminine beauty in bloom, using floral motifs as aesthetic hieroglyphs. The panels are like those used in Classical friezes, each one narrating another chapter in the story.

The scrupulous symmetry of the crisp, clean floral design borrows a harmonious symmetry from nature.

Art is the child of Nature; yes,
Her darling child, in whom we trace
The features of the mother's face,
Her aspect and her attitude.

The dress features an unstructured, loosely fit bodice with a ruffled lace peplum at the waist. The sleeves, cut-in-one with the bodice, have a relaxed comfortable fit. Each layer of the tiered skirt closes separately in back with snaps. The bodice also closes in back with snaps.

In her authoritative survey of Paris Fashion, Valerie Steele of FIT describes the importance of the tea gown in fashion history. Déshabillé ("undress") referred to garments worn only in the house or in semi-private settings. These garments sometimes conveyed the intimacy of the boudoir, but they encompassed a wide range: the humble wool dressing gown; the flannel matinée for housework; the silk peignoir for the boudoir; the fine tea dress or robe d'intérieur of cotton batiste for private entertaining; all the way up to the grand Delphos tea gown.

The condition is excellent. It is clean and ready to wear.

It measures: 40" bust, 29" waist, 42" hip, 14 1/2" from shoulder to waist, and 59 1/2" from shoulder to hem.

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