Edwardian evening dress ; Unknown; c 1900; 93/128/24


Te Manawa


Edwardian evening dress

About this object

This evening gown is in two parts, bodice and skirt.The bodice is short waisted and sleeveless with a sweetheart neckline, with coloured guipure lace motifs and coloured glass 'gems'. It laces together at the back. The skirt is trumpet style; the top two thirds is tight fitting and then it flares.The lower third is plain except for two ruffles around the hem. The skirt opens down centre back.



Date Made

c 1900

Place Made

Auckland, New Zealand

Medium and Materials

Pale pink silk grosgrain with coloured lace trim, glass


Bodice: 415 mm long , Bust: 830 mm , Waist: 510 mm , Skirt: 600 mm waist, Back: 1305 mm long .

Subject and Association Description

This evening dress was worn by the donor's mother-in-law, Mrs Emily Jane Mildon (nee Whitley), to attend balls as a young single woman in Auckland. Her father was a well-to-do merchant. Her grandson, Richard Mildon Junior says of Emily and the times she lived in "In the late 19th century... it was not socially acceptable for a young woman from a family of significant means to go out to work. The right husband - a man of sufficient income and no major vices, and hopefully one that she could love - was vital for a woman's settled and secure future, and she could expect her parents to exert a strong influence over her choice.Emily Jane Whitley was a single, Auckland girl who faced such circumstances. She was the only daughter of a wealthy, self-made, city merchant. She did not work, had indulgent parents, and life was a busy social whirl.This dress...has an eighteen inch waist, achieved using strong, stiff corsetry, but Emily was proud that she had once been laced down to sixteen inches.Despite many, very eligible Auckland suitors, Emily chose to marry Percy Mildon, the son of an English immigrant school teacher turned farmer, to whom she had been introduced on a visit to the Manawatu in about 1903..." Emily and her husband settled in Kairanga.

Object Type

Dress, evening/Clothing - Outerwear/Clothing/Personal Artefacts/Nomenclature

Object number



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