Day dress, 1905-1910; 1991/189/63
Day dress, 1905-1910About this object
This late Edwardian day dress is made from a printed cotton voile fabric, embellished with a delicate rose pattern. It has frothy lace at the throat, forming a stand collar stiffened with celluloid boning and trimmed with brown velvet. The lace is repeated in the wide cuffs, which are interlaced with a copper silk ribbon, as too is the collar lapel. The sleeves and neck are tightly fitted, typical of the era when luxury clothing symbolised the elevated status of the fashionable woman. Much more practical approaches would soon follow. The bodice is gathered at the shoulders and crosses over around the torso to the front. The main skirt is full length and the two panels at the bottom form the hobble shape that was briefly fashionable in these years. At the waistline there is a detachable peplum in self-fabric, which attaches at the front with hook and eyes and overlaps, echoing the crossover feature in the bodice.
This is a light summer dress but unfortunately we know nothing of its wearer or who made it. Like other Edwardian day dresses in the Museum collection, it demonstrates both continuities with the fashions of the Victorian era and distinct changes that marked the beginning of a new century. There is a sense in which the pre-World War 1 years were an Indian summer for the nineteenth century. The clothes that would emerge in succeeding decades are much more recognisably ‘modern’ than these Edwardian examples.
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