Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fashion Forecast: 1823

What was the well-dressed young lady wearing in 1823?

This must be one of the sprightliest Ball Gowns of the decade, from the trim on the bodice and puff sleeves (it looks rather like ribbon embroidery) to the sheer overskirt edged with appliqué over a pink petticoat, finished with a sash in back. Just delightful! (Ackermann’s Repository, January):For a more sedate evening outing, she might wear this glowing red Evening Dress, with two rows of different trims around the hem and scalloped petal decoration on the sleeves and bodice. Notice also the satin-lined cloak…and if you look very carefully, you might be able to see that her elbow-length gloves are ruffle-edged! A very handsome outfit, from February’s Ackermann’s: I don’t know what’s more interesting in this print from the June edition of Ackermann’s Repository—the Carriage Dress, in blue with caped shoulders and what looks like giant frogging all down the front (and a confection of a gauze cap) or the view of the interior of a carriage! Note her quizzing glass at the ready, to examine passers-by: Here’s another sweet Ball Dress, also from June’s Ackermann’s. The sleeves are an interesting style, with long points of lace—that and the almost medieval-looking tiara and the princess-seamed bodice seem definite signs of the growing Gothic influence that was creeping in everywhere, from houses to furniture and clothing. And what a charming pose!This Ball Dress from July’s Ackermann’s is proof positive that young ladies of fashion required lady’s maids: the decoration on the sleeves, down the front, and around the hem is made up of tiny pockets of white satin, into EACH of which a small China rose and cluster of leaves has been placed. I wonder if her maid went with her to balls, to replenish any roses that fell out during the dance sets? Notice again also the ruffled edge on her gloves….and the rather, um, novel headdress which reminds me of olives on toothpicks—a style that seemed to be big this year, as it appears in more than one Ackermann’s print from 1823: This Morning Dress from the September issue of Ackermann’s looks almost like a more restrained version of the Carriage Dress above…but what an amazingly trimmed bonnet lies on the table! Note also her hair, with a coronet of braids in back--again, the Gothic influence--married with flirty ringlets in front: I love these prints of Head Dresses that appear on occasion in Ackermann’s…particularly the curious turban-like hat at upper left and the elegant, mannish riding hat with lace veil at lower left (Ackermann’s Repository, November): I just love this last print, for several reasons. The Full Dress is very handsome, in a vibrant cherry-red with gold appliqué on the bodice, sleeves, and hem (and by the way, notice that waistlines have crept slightly downward this year). I wish I knew whether the dots on the fabric are embroidered on or woven in, though. Her accessories—the lace shawl, fanciful turban, and peacock feather fan—are striking and handsome. But the most amusing part is that the artist seems to have had a momentary lapse of attention and has given his poor model two right feet…either that, or her knees are remarkably flexible! (Ackermann's Repository, December)What do you think of 1823’s fashions?


Lo Hughes said...

I love the Fashion Forecast! That ball gown with the roses is crazy (in a good way!). I wish I could have seen it in real life.

Marissa Doyle said...

Me too, Lo. It was either very pretty, or very strange-looking, I'm guessing!

Beebs said...

Hi Marisa

I love these illustrations, particularly the first ballgown, she looks ready for a night of waltzing. The dress with all the roses in tiny pockets, not so much.

Apart from the fact that they'd be falling out of the pockets all night, they must have looked awful at the end of the evening when they'd all wilted. and what if your dance partner had hayfever. yuck!!!

Rachel said...

Absolutely yummy. It's such a shame that we can't dress like that today. Well, you could, but it would be for a convention or Regency-themed tea party :)

I love the evening dress. The cloak is beautiful with the dress. I also love the morning dress.

Marissa Doyle said...

I know, Beebs! You have to wonder if anyone actually had this dress made and wore it...it's sort of a genteel Regency version of a Lady Gaga ensemble, when you think about it!

I love that evening dress too, Rachel--the color is so yummy.

Gio said...

The dresses look gorgeous! And they must have been even more so in real life.