House of Worth (French, 18581956)
Silk, glass, metallic threads
Gift of Mrs. Harrison Williams, Lady Mendl and Mrs. Ector Munn, 1946 (C.I.46.4.20a–c)
Charles Frederick Worth's two sons, Jean-Philippe and Gaston, carried on the high standards of design and technique at the House of Worth following the designer's death in 1895. By the 1920s, a completely different, slim boyish silhouette had emerged as the new fashion, as the simple shape of this dress illustrates. Constructed with a minimal amount of seaming and shaping, the chemise dress suggested the body was flat in front and back, with no discernible articulation of the chest, waist, or hips. The lavish ornament of this example, however, provides a clear link to earlier examples executed by Charles Frederick Worth. Side slits and the shortened hemline reveal glimpses of gold lamé. The use of this opulent fabric for both the underdress and lining of the train, as well as the intricate beadwork, recall gowns made by the House of Worth in the previous century.