Bustle dress petticoat, 1870s. This exemplar of needle arts techniques is lavishly trimmed with bands of narrow tucks; ruching (diagonal bands); and broderie anglaise featuring eyelets as bunches of grapes, which alternate with embroidered grape leaves. NEW LISTING
Silk taffeta dressing gown with Chinese hand embroidery, 1870s. The exquisite wrapper with its train and bustle back is an exemplar of boudoir attire, retaining elements of street dress. It is covered with a profusion of floral bouquets and flying insects, executed in silk floss and couched metallic cord. The Chinese hand embroidery is magnificent beyond compare.
Art Nouveau appliquéd coat, c.1900 The design combines braided trim with delightful stylized flowers, whose raised petals resemble those in Brussels Duchesse lace. Peasant-style, hand-embroidered accents add whimsical freshness to the intricate curvilinear motifs. Here is dignity, mystery, and majesty in equal proportions. NEW LISTING
French beaded silk taffeta reception gown, c.1890. Made from black silk taffeta that opens over beaded net inserts, this dramatic gown could be the centerpiece of any exhibit. The wide lapels, cuffs, and front skirt opening are trimmed with scrolling black passementerie. An amazingly fine historical artifact from the Gilded Age!
Silk satin side-lacing boots, c.1865. By the 1860s, the popular flat side-lacing walking boots of the 1830s had evolved into those with higher curved Louis heels and eye catching color. The sheen from the satin fabric in our boots makes the ravishing rose/coral color glow with life. NEW LISTING
French velvet dolman bustle coat, 1880s. Full length dolman coats are quite rare. Lavishly embellished with wide bands of matching passementerie trim, this is an amazing "twofer", both wearable and collectible! With historic dolman sleeves and incredible passementerie trim, here is a veritable museum in fashionable costume. NEW LISTING
Embroidered Canton shawl/cape, c.1900. Made from ivory silk crepe, this captivating cape is covered with exquisite Chinese floral motifs rendered in matching silk floss, creating a showpiece for the intricate stitches used in the delightful lifelike motifs. NEW LISTING
French velvet boots, c.1890. Made from soft black velvet, the boots are lined with ivory linen. The provocative red and black hues project their own subliminal frisson—all the more when the boots are taken off or put on. NEW LISTING
Hand-embroidered wedding dress, c.1881.The bodice and train are fashioned from fawn-colored silk faille and the skirt from substantial ivory silk satin. Both pieces are hand-embroidered with sprays of ivory silk floss flowers, executed in satin stitch with French knot accents. The style is regal and elegant, as befitting a bride on her special day.
Three-piece promenade ensemble, c.1867. The outfit consists of a sepia brown velvet bodice and underskirt together with contrasting copper brown faille overskirt. The pulled-back skirt construction anticipates bustle styles of the 1870s. What a charming symphony in three shades of neighborly browns! NEW LISTING
Beaded velvet mantle, c.1885. Plush royal blue velvet is the ground for the sparkling, iridescent beading—a regal patina for this magnificent mantle, which will add pizazz to any gown. It is open and shorter in back to allow room for the centaur-shaped skirts from the final bustle period. NEW LISTING
Silk taffeta two-piece day gown, c.1868. While still full, the skirt is cut longer in back, forming a train and a mini-bustle. The pagoda sleeves and fringe trim are carried over from the early 1860s. I love the two-tone design of vibrant bleu de France and delicate Cambridge "blue." The graphic design and harmonious hues create a striking display.
Small wire-frame bonnet, 1870s-1880s. Meant to perch on top of an elaborate coiffure, this delightful confection layers bronze metallic lace with hanging beaded balls on top of a wire frame. The top is decorated with black fabric flowers as well as velveteen forget-me-nots, like an exquisite Grecian garland. Black velvet ribbon streamers fall from the back
Fancy silk bonnet, 1850s. Made from cream colored silk ruched and pleated to create a highly textured design, the bonnet embodies the Romantic period aesthetic. The crown, back, and inside of the brim are embellished with sensual satin ribbon roses created with a verisimilitude that nature herself would envy.
Pingat beaded lace cape, c.1875-1885. Both the bright orange red base and the glittering red beads are covered with black. We see Pingat's sublime genius in the materialization of his high fashion metaphor: just as the incandescent beauty of the fiery red beads and flaming orange satin are obscured by black fabric, even so a woman's passions are like a banked fire.
Beaded velvet capelet attributed to Doucet, c.1898. For Doucet, a garment had to be theatrical—grand, luxe, and gala. Lavishly embellished with iridescent sequins and novelty paillettes, the dazzling design is accented with black pleated chiffon ruffles in front and with black chiffon rosettes around the neckline.
Hand-embroidered Kashmir shawl mantle, 1870s. Made from a hand-embroidered Indian Kashmir shawl, the mantle is lined with red satin and trimmed with variegated chenille fringe. The hauntingly beautiful star-shaped motif is the most dramatic element in the design. The back is shaped with princess line seams.
Satin damask ball gown, c.1895. Made from satin damask from the House of Worth, the grand gown is one the most majestic I have ever seen. The chiffon damask overlay on the bodice front has a floral pattern that matches the flowers in the satin. What an feat: the perfect mirror imaging of the floral pattern on the back of the bodice.
Sequined tulle evening gown, c.1900. The bodice is of beige lace with a black sequined tulle overlay. The sequined tulle skirt has a lovely back train. The gown likely belonged to Sarah Bernhardt. It stands on its own as an exemplar of turn-of-the-century high style fashion.
Worth silk brocaded gown, 1890s. Made from sublime brocaded silk satin patterned with turquoise and silver peacock feathers on a lilac ground, the 2-piece gown is reminiscent of 18th century open robes with its open-front skirt and three-quarter-length sleeves trimmed with lace engageantes.
Printed cotton velveteen day dress, 1850s. Over the years, I have found few printed velveteens from this period. The brilliant fabric still radiates a memorable richness of color. A very old, minor alteration does not compromise the original style. Maintenance of design integrity and the rare fabric make our charming period dress a great buy for the serious collector.
Centennial bustle ball gown, c.1876. This important historical artifact was made from delicate pale peach taffeta hand-embroidered with ivory silk floss medallions. It is an amalgam of period features: half 18th century and half Victorian bustle gown. The bodice has the original sleeves. The petticoat was remade into the bustle shape.
Plaited straw bonnet, c.1868. By the late 1860s, bonnets were reduced to small decorative objects perched on top of elaborate coiffures. The look was daring and coquettish in its time. Made from rows of two-tone plaited straw ribbon, the charming bonnet sports a textured saw toothed edge on each row, creating a pleasing 3-dimensional effect.
Pingat beaded faux fur/wool coat, 1890s. Peerless design from one of the great couturiers. By 1880 Pingat had emerged as master of both surface decoration and outerwear. His craftsmanship was "near flawless, the epitome of the designing dressmaker's art...flashy fabrics are sublimated to subtle surface trims. His clothes, murmuring elegance rather than shouting affluence, demand close inspection."
Roller print cotton wrapper, 1850s-1860s. The cut is flared and loose for comfortable wear in the home. The wrapper is reversible. The 3 distinct prints were dyed with madder. The vividness and saturation of the colors in the 160-year-old wrapper cannot be topped today. Among other brilliant hues are Persian red, brown, umber brown, and desert sand.
Chameleon cutwork kid shoes, 1870s. The stylish shoes have the rounded square toes of 1840-1880. Shoes with fancy cutwork with colorful silk underneath became known as Chameleons, all the rage from 1850-1880 and popular until 1900. Here the designer used whimsical geometric shapes to create a brilliant and memorable design.
Bead knitted jacket, late 1890s. The brown silk yarn knitted with an open lacy pattern is ideal for the modern, figure hugging style. The jacket closes in front with corset-style lacing. You can decide how much of the front is closed with the lacing. The jacket clings to the body like the robes upon the figures in the Parthenon frieze.
Handmade lace/plush coat, c.1900. What a stunning masterpiece of textural monochromatic design made from ivory plush faux fur! With wide roomy sleeves, the cut is simple and slightly flared. The coat lapels, when turned back, reveal scrolling braided trim.
Brussels lace parasol with ivory handle, 1860s. Made from handmade Brussels lace and lined with matching cream-colored silk, such a fancy parasol was more of a status symbol and fashion accessory than a sun shield. The floral lace forms a pretty scalloped edge. The shaft and finial are brass; the handle is hand-carved ivory. The condition is all original.
Hand-embroidered silk cloak, c.1890-1900. Made from an ivory Chinese hand-embroidered silk shawl. The cape collar is formed by folding over one side of the shawl. The cloak closes in front with braided tassels and is bordered all around with hand-knotted silk fringe. The timeless floral design has a subtle, undying beauty. This is art that conceals art, using symmetry by reflection.
Beaded embroidered velvet cape, c.1895. Made from black velvet decorated with couched soutache and faceted black glass beads, whose subtle sparkle will delight all. The exotic floral motif draws the viewer in with its flowing, highly-stylized, curvilinear forms, perfectly capturing the Art Nouveau aesthetic, then at peak popularity.
Linen duster cape, c.1900. Our duster cape offered a protective cover for the adventurous passengers in the new horseless carriage. The duster is sleeveless under the outer cape collar and has scalloped edges on the collar, pockets, and outer cape. The self-covered buttons in the front and on the pockets are miraculously all there. An important historical artifact!