Reception gown (or costume), Mme Ed. E. Thomé, ca. 1880; silk
Metropolitan Museum of Art 1998.271a, b; Gift of Richard Martin
Victorian fashion always contained some kind of historicizing element, and in the 1880s fashion’s focus was on the eighteenth century. The pleats on the back of this dress are reminiscent of the sack back of a robe à la française, as are the lacy engageants; the pleated trim is a replica of that found on many historical gowns; and the compère front, with the appearance of a buttoned waistcoat, is also an historical touch.
How did I not know about this?! It’s my two most-beloved periods in fashion history combined… I couldn’t possibly ask for more! IT’S ABSOLUTELY STUNNING.
One day when I get better at sewing, I will definitely make myself one.