Form and Fashion

IntroductionPrevious 5
Conclusion
M6327.1-3 M969.1.11.1-4 M971.105.6.1-3 M966.35 M20281.1-2 M968.2.1.1-3 M19789.1 M970.25.1 Conclusion
 
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Dress
About 1888, 19th century
Gift of Miss Estelle Holland
M20281.1-2
© McCord Museum
Description
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Description

After the trend towards a more vertical line at the turn of the decade, a variant of back fullness just below the waist reappears in the form of a rigid bustle in 1883. The two-piece lace dress is mounted on satin. It has a fitted bodice with double-flounce three-quarter-length sleeves and a front closure, embellished by a narrow gathered flounce, with globular buttons of pearl and metal. Jet epaulettes embellish the slightly elevated sleeve-head. The lace of the bodice extends to form an overskirt with complex drapery creating five pointed sections, all edged with gathered flouncing. A satin ribbon bow with streamers ending in tassel-like ornaments decorates the base of the front closure : two similar bows with streamers are at the centre back at the base of the bodice. The front of the skirt features a series of lace flounces mounted over satin. One pair of satin ribbon streamers, terminating in tassel-like ornaments, emerges near the center front at the hemline. The back of the satin skirt is not embellished with lace flounces, since it is covered by the lace overskirt attached to the bodice : here three steels with inside tapes create a built-in bustle. The Notman studio photographs reveal that 1888 was the year that slight puffing, such as we find in the Holland dress, appeared in the sleeve-head. As the year proceeds this looks is noted with increased frequency. The trend continues in 1889, the year that the bustle is often dramatically reduced in the clothing of the sitters. The modishness of the Holland dress, and that of much of the clothing in William Notman's photographs, invites speculation on the source of their inspiration. Indeed at about this time Montreal fashion became increasingly international. We know that in addition to French, English and American clothing novelties, German ones were imported. In the 1889 February 22 issue of Le Moniteur du Commerce we read that Caverhill, Kissock and Binmore, wholesalers, have in stock "the latest fashions from the French, English, German and American markets". Paris, however, still seems to be a leader, since the same advertisement details some of the importations from that city : "Paris hairstyles! Paris patterns! Paris hats!". (Excerpt from: BEAUDOIN-ROSS, Jacqueline. Form and Fashion : Nineteenth-Century Montreal Dress, McCord Museum of Canadian History, 1992, p. 40.)

Keys to History

After the trend towards a more vertical line in the late 1870s, a variant of back fullness just below the waist reappeared in the form of a rigid bustle in 1883. The fitted bodice of this two-piece satin and lace gown has double-flounce three-quarter-length sleeves and a front closure, trimmed by a narrow gathered flounce, with globular buttons of pearl and metal. Jet epaulettes embellish the slightly elevated sleeve-head. The lace of the bodice extends to form an overskirt with complex drapery creating five pointed sections, all edged with gathered flouncing. A satin ribbon bow with streamers ending in tassel-like ornaments decorates the base of the front closure; there are two similar bows with streamers at the centre back, at the base of the bodice. The front of the skirt features a series of lace flounces mounted over satin. A pair of satin ribbon streamers tipped with tassel-like ornaments emerges near the centre front at the hemline. There are no lace flounces on the back of the satin skirt, since it is covered by the lace overskirt attached to the bodice. Here, three steel stays with inside tapes create a built-in bustle.

  • What

    This dress features black Chantilly lace, pink satin, black satin ribbon, black jet and buttons of pearl and metal.

  • Where

    At the time, Montreal fashion was becoming increasingly international. New models were imported not only from France, England and the United States, but also from Germany. It appears that Paris continued to dominate the market, though.

  • When

    The Notman studio photos reveal a [object=II-87490.1]slight puffing of the sleeve-head[/object] as of 1888, such as seen in this gown.

  • Who

    A member of the Holland family wore this dress.