Hand-embroidered Chinese silk coat, c.1904
The craze for Orientalism that exploded in Paris in 1900 continued through the 1920s. Between 1900 and 1925, Mandarin-style theatre coats like this one were made in China and Japan for the Western market.
The sumptuous coat was made from pale pink silk crepe. It is lined with matching pink silk. The opening, sleeves, side slits, and hem are bordered with hand-embroidered bands of pink satin.
The body of the coat is hand embroidered with bouquets of flowers rendered in shades of gold, rose, ivory, and gray silk floss. The design incorporates subtle textures through a variety of stitches and corded soutache.
The exquisite hand embroidery transforms the coat into a wearable work of art. Oriental dress was traditionally distinguished by the use of magnificent textiles and embroidery—symbolic of rank and wealth.
The slightly flared style looked great over the slim dresses of the 1910s and will work just as well over a modern slip dress. The sleeves are cut-in-one with the body of the coat for a relaxed, easy fit.
These coats are eagerly sought by collectors as well as fashionistas, who recognize they make fabulous evening wear, since ethnic styles are again the height of fashion. You can go one better with this magnificent Chinese coat from 1904; the finishing and style are superior to what you can find in modern imitations.
The condition is almost excellent. It has been cleaned and is ready to wear. The cleaner left faint gray marks, which barely show, on the shoulders. I told him not to aggressively spot clean, because of my concern that harsh cleaning would damage the antique fabric. My judgment was vindicated; the antique fabric was preserved. See my comments on cleaning antique clothing.
It measures: 50" bust and waist, flaring to 72" circumference around the hem. The coat is 46" long from shoulder to hem.