As with March’s fashion plates, April’s dress designs are also by one Mrs. Gill of Cork-street, Burlington Gardens. I’m wondering, now, if these dressmakers had to pay for the right to place their dress designs in front of the eyes of Ackermann’s readers? Or did they just have to have an in with the journal’s fashion writer?
As for that writer, I have to say that after reading four months of their commentary, I’m finding their descriptive powers somewhat lacking. Almost each outfit featured is described with the word “novel”; second in popularity seems to be the word “elegant.” If everything is termed both novel and elegant, how is a reader to know what is truly novel? Or has fashion begun to change so quickly that what was “novel” one month is now displaced by a new “novelty” the next?
The shape of Plate 22’s Morning Dress doesn’t strike me as particular novel: a round gown of cambric. The lines of small tucks, and the worked flounce with a heading seem quite in keeping with the increase of trimmings in post-war fashions. I quite like the bodice, gathered at the center and flowing toward each shoulder. Caps have always left me a bit cold, but our reporter describes this one as “uncommonly becoming,” ornamented with lilac ribbon.
From the waist down, this month’s Opera Dress, plate 23, looks quite similar in style to its companion Morning Dress, although it is made from white satin with a lace overlay rather than from cambric. Again, the bodice is not really described in much detail; the columnist seems most interested in the outfit’s “Berlin cap,” with its rich gold band and its crown of short ostrich feathers. “The Berlin cap is, in our opinion, the most generally becoming headdress which has been introduced for some seasons,” writes our columnist.
This month’s general observations note that “the fashions have changed less since our last number than they do in general at this season of the year.” But this is likely to change soon, given the upcoming nuptials of Princess Charlotte (May 2, 1816). Despite the report of the increasing fashionableness of mantles last month, pelisses still seem to be ruling the fashion scene. Our columnist’s prediction that the Cobourg hat would increase in popularity seems to have been more on the mark. “Satinet,” a fabric composed of silk and worsted, with a rich satin stripe, has recently been introduced, and is reported to be “in much request with belles of rank and taste.” Another recent introduction, Irish satin, is also reported to be popular, especially among those “ladies of rank who wish to encourage the productions of our own looms, in preference to French goods.” (“Satinet” is indeed listed as a fabric in Fairchild’s Dictionary of Textiles, although “irish satin” is not).
This month’s fashionable colors are the same as last’s, with the addition of light drab and lilac.
This month’s muslin pattern: