Stripes! I can’t remember a previous gown featured in Ackermann’s Repository that featured stripes to the degree that plate 16’s half dress does. Not only is the gown itself made of striped sarsnet, the slippers that accompany it are, too! But in 1816, stripes alone are not enough to adorn even a simple day dress; the candy striped concoction here features two flounces of lace with headings, and bows of Pomona green above the highest flounce. Similar bows run down the top of each sleeve, too. I think I would have preferred a striped dress to be weighted down with less adornment—would you?
Plate 17 features a plain white evening dress—at least, plain in terms of its fabric, British net over a sarsnet slip. But the dress features as many embellishments as its companion day dress. A double flounce of lace, a wreath of roses, and a rollio of white satin above the roses bring the skirt trimming almost to knee-height; a companion bouquet of moss roses “shades” the bosom, while a quilling of blond lace frames the bodice. Even more detailed are the dress’s short and full sleeves, which are “divided into compartments by rollios of satin.” (FYI, a “rollio” is a type of rolled trimming, used for decoration; according to Cunnington’s Dictionary of English Costume, fabric is “rolled into a very narrow tubular shape”). Pearls are the jewelry of choice for this gown. Was it made for a very young lady?
General observations on British Fashion and Dress include the following:
• The Gloucester bonnet and spencer are in vogue for carriage dress
• The cold weather has led ladies to wrap themselves in silk scarves and shawls, laying aside muslin pelisses as not warming enough
• Lace is not so generally worn in morning dress as in the past (although the columnist’s adumbrations against it suggest this may be more of a recommendation than an actual observation)
• Silks striped of the same color are popular in dinner dress, as are gowns of shot sarsnet
• The Gloucester robe is an “elegant novelty” in full dress
The prevalence of “Gloucester”-named apparel stems, I’m guessing, from the July 1816 marriage of the Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh (1776-1834), nephew of George III, to King George’s fourth daughter, Princess Mary.
Fashionable colors for September echo those of August, with the addition of Pomona green and lavender.
This month’s magazine also includes fashion news from France, where the bad weather experienced in England had turned fine only a few weeks earlier. Worked muslin is in fashion for promenade dresses, unlike in colder England, and white is the most commonly seen in evening dress. The author mourns poor French taste in not matching bonnet linings with trim or ribbons:
“for example, you see a bonnet lined with blue, trimmed with green, and perhaps ornamented with a bunch of different coloured flowers; at present, blue, rose-colour, and green are favourite linings; but, I think, plaid silk is still more than any thing in request, and some of our most distinguished fashionables have sported bonnets entirely composed of it” (180).
Luckily for French fashion, reports the correspondent, the Duchess of Berri (mother of the current heir to the French throne) sets the French style with her notable taste in dress.
Curves, rather than stripes, take center stage in September’s needlework patterns:
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