Fancy hand-embroidered knickers, c.1905
Lingerie from the Belle Époque is treasured by the collector for its romantic nostalgia. This was a period of extravagance in dress, when under garments were often more elaborately detailed than street dress.
These seductive knickers occupy one end of a wide range of informal wear known as déshabillé ("undress"). Such expensive and exquisite garments were meant for an audience of one: the wearer's husband or most intimate friend.
Made with faggoted seams from sheer white cotton batiste, the alluring knickers can be given the full "vintage look." If desired, ribbons can be threaded through the embroidered slits on the full legs.
The legs were hand embroidered with exquisite padded satin stitch, French knots, and open work fill. The wide hem ruffles have rows of horizontal tucks. The knickers close in back with two buttons at the waist.
The embroidery is bordered with inserts of Cluny-style lace, an Edwardian handmade bobbin lace. It is worked in linen thread and has braided bars and small petal-shaped wheat ears. A collection of 16th century Genoese bobbin laces was exhibited (c. 1860) at the Cluny Museum in Paris.
If you wish to wear your vintage pieces, you will have a finer piece than anything you can buy new. The open-crotch knickers can be worn as is over panties; or you can slip stitch the crotch opening to close it.
The condition is excellent and wearable.
It measures: 27" waist with room to let out, 40" hip, and 28" length.