Cluny lace trimmed silk peignoir, c.1910
Lingerie from the early 20th century is treasured by the collector for its romantic nostalgia. Who can resist the unapologetic femininity of this seductive peignoir? It has both a classical beauty and an irresistible feminine allure. Here is a garment meant for the aristocrat of style, who will command the attention of all—in and outside the bedroom.
Made from champagne colored China silk, the peignoir is trimmed with inserts of handmade Cluny lace. The empire style features a fitted bodice and long full skirt. The graceful sleeves flare out to points over the elbows. The peignoir closes in front with silk ties.
The balancing of the long vertical silhouette against the rhythmically repeated, horizontal and diagonal bands on the neckline and bodice is masterful. The symmetry and stylized simplicity of the pattern is reminiscent of the plain, yet haunting, designs seen on the friezes of Classical Greek architecture, e.g., the Elgin Marbles Parthenon frieze.
Cluny lace is a much loved Victorian/Edwardian handmade bobbin lace. It is worked in linen thread and has braided bars and small petal-shaped wheat ears. "Cluny" refers to the Cluny Museum in Paris, where a collection of 16th century Genoese bobbin laces was exhibited in the 19th century. They inspired French lace makers to imitate the patterns and create a "new" continuous lace; a curious case where new art was created out of a celebration of old art.
The condition is almost excellent. I found a few unobtrusive small mends that do not spoil the appearance of the peignoir.
It measures: 36 bust, 38" high waist, 14 1/2" from shoulder seam to shoulder seam, 12 1/2" from the shoulder to the high waist, and 55" from the shoulder to the hem.