#2838 $2,200 SoldEmbroidered tea dress embellished with Irish crochet, c.1910.
The soft feminine style and delicious detail will appeal to your inner princess. The design uses a textured assortment of hand-embroidered tulle and hand-assembled tape lace with accents of bold Irish crochet flowers.
The tea gown first appeared in the 1870s. It permitted respectable women to indulge a taste for fantasy and innovation in dress within the limits of Victorian propriety. Tea time for an upper middle class hostess was meant for an exclusive circle of friends, who stayed for only a short time.
Without the original boned underpinnings, the dress is comfortable and easy to wear. It closes in back with hooks and snaps. The sleeveless bodice shows a glimpse of bare shoulders under the wide lace collar.
Irish crochet played an important role in fashion history. The European craft of crochet achieved an aesthetic pinnacle in Ireland, where crochet artists used 17th century Venetian needlepoint laces as their inspiration.
The dress was photographed on a mannequin that is 6' tall. If you are shorter, you will have a longer back train.
Early 20th century tea dresses are treasured by the collector for their elaborate handwork. The fine textural quality of the high-relief hand embroidery and the abundant lace make this dress perfect for an informal wedding.
Our dress brings to mind a story told by celebrated designer Cecil Beaton (My Fair Lady). As a boy in London before WWI, he was taken to an open air entertainment. It was a theatrical garden party for charity, where glamorous actresses sold ice cream and autographed photos. He recalls the indelible impression made by the lovely white tea dresses.
The condition is almost excellent. The dress is clean and ready to wear. You just need to add a slip.
It measures: 36" bust, 34" waist; 20" from shoulder to bottom of the waistband; and 56" from shoulder to front hem (longer in back).