French peasant style two-piece costume, late 19th century. The dazzling dress came from a French fashion house, but it features Bavarian peasant dirndl styling. It has a full skirt with tight cartridge pleating at the waist and a front lacing bodice. The velvet vest part of the bodice mimics peasant costume, but the elaborately embellished full sleeves and neckline are pure invention. This is "peasant style" dress, Paris subdivision! NEW LISTING
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!
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.
Boy's linen skirt suit, 1870s. This delightful boy's suit is a fascinating remnant of our cultural history. Even as late as 1870, it was considered proper for an upper middle class boy to be dressed in a skirt.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.