Fashion of the week - Reception gown 1900

Reception gown from 1900, from the French fashion magazine La Mode Artistique. A reception dress was a more sombre affair than a ball gown, but much more elaborate than an ordinary day dress and in style much resembles the dinner dress of the upper classes - this is at a time when it was a must to slip into something fancy at dinner-time.

The evening-wear of the very late Victorian and Edwardian era could very well have sleeves (which they often did not have earlier), but they often just went to the elbow and were accompanied by long gloves.

The dress is in a green material with a floral pattern of the less subtle kind, and has a train. Many dresses of the time was rather simple when it came to colouring but as can be seen here, it was not a must. The colours were often very dark (even black, and that in cases that had nothing to do with mourning) or very light. This dress falls into the later category.

The dress also clearly shows another typical theme of the time, the S-bend silhouette that had very little to do with the actual form of the female body, did little to flatter it and was achieved by corsets that went all the way from the bust down to the thighs. A slim waist was the ideal, and a very full bosom.

This picture is a little unusual in that it does not show an imagined dress, or a dress from a specific shop or maker, but instead shows what was worn by a certain person (Mlle Delagny) at a certain event and was meant to be an inspiration for others to copy.

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