Museum Purchase

"Ladies of Worth" de Young Museum, Jan. 21, 1984-Apr.29, 1984

ball gown. Description: Two pieces, heavy ivory-colored w/sewn sequin detail and floral embroidery. "Worth", Paris. Skirt is sequined to knee line w/colorful, embroidered floral bunches or bouquets whose stems are caught a trim of gathered satin of the same as the body which is brought together at points every three inches. Below this trim is a plain space of approx. 8" and then a repeat of the gathers and a final Florence covered by a gathered flounce of ivory figured lace. There is a slight bustle. Gown is in perfect condition except for alterations to waist band. Lined in cream-colored toffeta. Inner flounce of peau de soie from first gathered trim (called a "Balayeuse"). Bodice has lace up back. Peau de soie with sewn sequins. Large embroidered floral spray across bosom and pink satin ribbon bow on left side of bodice near shoulder. Straight cut neckline w/full, short sleeves. Sleeves are split w/insert of ivory-colored China silk. Flounce of ivory-colored, figured lace hangs down over sleeve from neckline and is detailed w/rosette on each shoulder of China silk. Bosom has trim of lace and gathered China silk. From the History Information Station: Object: Ball gown, made circa 1895 by the House of Worth, in Paris. Embroidered silk satin, decoratied with sequins. History: This gown belonged to the daughter of a Eureka, California lumberman. It was purchased in Paris, probably when the girl's mother took her on a Grand Tour of Europe when she was around 18 or 20 years of age. The Grand Tour was a social custom among fashionable and wealthy Americans who wished to introduce their marriageable daughters into English and Continental European society. An important part of the Tour was a visit to the Paris dressmakers, who set the style for English, European and American fashion. During her visit to Paris, the future owner of this dress selected the style, and then had this particular dress made just for her. The House of Worth was the first recognized High fashion design house in Paris, and the first to be described as "haute couture".

Used: costume ~ formal wear

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