Evening dress

Design House: House of Worth (French, 1858–1956)

Date: 1925

Culture: French

Medium: silk, beads, metal thread

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Harrison Williams, Lady Mendl, and Mrs. Ector Munn, 1946

Accession Number: C.I.46.4.20a–c

Description

As the nineteenth century came to a close, Jean-Philippe and Gaston Worth succeeded their father as designers for the House of Worth. The house continued its virtuoso technical achievements, as represented in this example, in which metallic thread is embroidered in a meandering floral motif. In the 1920s a silhouette at variance to any other period emerged—the chemise dress, nearly planar in construction, suggested that the body was flat in front, flat in back, and with no discernible articulation of chest, waist, or hips. This dress was worn by the Marquise de Polignac when she was presented at court and, despite its modern cylindrical silhouette, featured a back panel that acted as a faux train paying homage to the tradition of Charles Worth's legendary relationship to the Second Empire court.

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