10/15/2008

Fashion of the week - Evening wear, 1823


This is an evening-dress from the English fashion magazine La Belle Assemble - a magazine which obviously took it's name to sound more French, since everyone knows that France is the place to go to get the latest fashion (or at least Paris).

The evening-wear clearly shows the transition from the regency era fashion to the phase that followed. It is to early to be Victorian, but it is not impossible to imagine the skirt growing even bigger in just a decade or two.

The regency elements that still can be spotted is most obviously the high waist. It is not just below the bosom, but still well above where most women naturally have their waist. Another element still left is the pillar-like silhouette. The skirt is getting bigger, that is true, but it still rather narrow, like it had been for the last 30 years. The turban-like head-wear, the one with all the plumes, is also a detail that had been popular for quite some time.

But there are also elements that really are not regency. The most obvious being the colour. Bright purple was not a colour that was popular earlier on. The classical regency dress had a very light colour, but even when darker colours started to creep into the wardrobe it was generally in the day-wear and the light colours (and white of course) stayed in the evening-wear. So is not the case here. The trimming, pompoms and all that is still kept white though - light colours were never far away from evening-wear (and continued to be popular with evening-wear throughout the 19th century).

The lady also wears the typical attributes to evening-wear, apart from the head-wear, there is also the long, white gloves - a lady would never dream of going to a ball without gloves; and note that she wears a bracelet, over the glove - and a small fan and a shawl.

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