#2763 $2,400 Sold
Worth beaded silk faille dress, c.1890. From the celebrated House of Worth when Charles Worth was alive, the grand gown is offered below market because it needs work. With an arresting magenta-black color combination, the magnificent dress could be the focal point of your collection. The magenta silk faille is in excellent durable condition. The brilliant dress is trimmed with black lace, black jet beads, and black satin ribbon. NEW LISTING
#c424 $1,950 Reserved
Catherine Donovan silk brocade ball gown, c.1890. In original condition, the gown—separate bodice and skirt—has a boned bodice with lavish sequin embellishment and princess lace neckline inserts. The brilliant palette of metallic gold and vermilion red in a luxe ivory setting strikes just the right note of brash confidence and stylish panache affected by members of the Social Register. NEW LISTING
Sequined tulle evening gown, c.1900. The dazzling two-piece gown has a bodice of beige lace with a black sequined tulle overlay. The sequined tulle skirt has a lovely back train. According to the oral provenance, the gown belonged to Sarah Bernhardt. It stands on its own as an exemplar of turn-of-the-century high style fashion. If the Bernhardt connection can be documented, then the value would be closer to $6800 than $1950. NEW LISTING
Printed cotton velveteen day dress, 1850s. Over my years of collecting, I have found few printed velveteens from this period. The unusual and brilliant fabric still radiates a memorable richness of color. A very old and minor alteration does not compromise the original style. Maintenance of design integrity and the rare fabric make our charming period dress a great buy for the serious collector. NEW LISTING
Centennial bustle ball gown, c.1876. This important historical artifact was made from delicate pale peach taffeta hand-embroidered with ivory silk floss medallions. It is an amalgam of period features: half 18th century and half Victorian bustle gown. The bodice, reconstructed with Victorian boning and a petersham, has the original sleeves. The petticoat was remade into the bustle shape. NEW LISTING
Satin damask ball gown, c.1895. Made from satin damask from the House of Worth (oral provenance), the grand gown is one the most majestic I have ever seen. The chiffon damask overlay on the bodice front has a floral pattern that matches the flowers in the satin. As a former pattern maker, I can appreciate an impressive design feat: the perfect mirror imaging of the floral pattern on the back of the bodice. NEW LISTING
#4144 $1,500 Sold
Gentleman's smoking jacket, 1870s-1880s. Made from printed wool faille and lined with contrasting printed cotton. The front opening is embellished with Brandenburg tape appliqués around the top button. The brilliant print features intricate, exotic Eastern motifs. Although upper class Englishmen would not wear the ethnic clothing favored by artists and bohemians, a plush "ethnic-style" smoking jacket was just daring enough for aristocratic taste.
Two-tone taffeta and velvet bustle dress, early 1870s. With a sweeping train and graphic two-tone design, the stylish dress can be an impressive presentation piece. The bodice and the layered skirt were made from copper colored silk taffeta and trimmed with a darker shade of burnt umber velvet. It was common in the early 1870s for skirts to have two separate layers. In this case, the layers are both attached together at the waist. The dress retains design elements from the 1860s: the dropped shoulder; the narrow corded piping around the armholes; and the use of silk fringe.
Roller print cotton wrapper, 1850s-1860s. The cut is flared and loose for comfortable wear in the home. The wrapper, completely finished on both sides, is reversible. The three distinct prints were dyed with madder, a colorfast dye in wide use in the second half of the 19th century. The vividness and saturation of the colors in the 160-year-old wrapper cannot be topped in today's retail market. Among other brilliant hues are Persian red, brown, umber brown, and desert sand.
Beaded satin reticule, c.1890-1900. Around 1910, Native American beaded bags became major fashion items, usually made of simple chamois and decorated with brightly colored beads. Fashioned from copper colored satin and lined with green satin, our reticule is slightly earlier and of higher quality construction than many of the 20th century bags. The pleated top and looped fringe are nice touches. The bead colors are copper, red, and white. What splendid Native American style beading!
Ribbon-embroidered net coat, c.1900. The gently shaped waist and relaxed cut define the figure while maintaining a comfortable fit. The skirt of the coat has deep sides slits almost to the waist. The coat closes in front with concealed hooks; the large, three-dimensional buttons are decorative only. The "lace" is actually embroidery on a net ground. The textural combination of black ribbon and braid is an especially imaginative design element that makes the design "pop." The intense black underlines the effect of a meeting of light and texture.
Chameleon cutwork kid shoes, 1870s. The stylish shoes have the rounded square toes popular from the 1840s to the 1880s. After a hiatus from 1800-1850, heels returned to fashion. Shoes with fancy cutwork with colorful silk underneath became known as Chameleons. The style was all the rage in the period 1850-1880. Chameleons remained quite popular until 1900. Here, the designer used whimsical geometric shapes to create a brilliant and memorable design.
Bead knitted jacket, late 1890s. The brown silk yarn knitted with an open lacy pattern is ideal for the modern, figure hugging style. The jacket closes in front with corset-style lacing, which begins at the neckline. You can decide how much of the front is closed with the lacing. The straight collar folds over flat. The hem, sleeve cuffs, and back vent opening are trimmed with appliqués of jet black beads. The jacket clings to the body like the robes upon the figures in the Parthenon frieze.
Handmade lace/plush coat, c.1900. What a stunning masterpiece of textural monochromatic design made from ivory plush faux fur! With wide roomy sleeves, the cut is simple and slightly flared. On the ends of the lace panels, the fringe that mimics the faux fur is absolutely marvelous! The coat lapels, when turned back, reveal scrolling braided trim. The coat is lined with matching satin faced along the neckline and lower corners with exquisite handmade silk Cluny lace.
Hand-embroidered Kashmir shawl mantle, 1870s. The brilliantly hued mantle was fashioned from a hand-embroidered Indian Kashmir shawl. Lined with red satin and trimmed with variegated chenille fringe, the mantle closes in front with concealed hooks. The hauntingly beautiful star-shaped motif is certainly the most dramatic element in the design. The back is shaped with princess line seams that form deep pleats over a protruding bustle.
#2559 $875 Sold
Striped silk/velvet two-piece bustle dress, 1870s. The stately silhouette is enhanced by the strong chiaroscuro effect of the striped fabric of bronze/gold corded silk and black velvet. The skirt hem, pleated ruffles, cuffs, and bustle back trim are of matching black and gold satin. The ensemble is meticulously constructed and finely finished on the inside with bound seams. The gown makes such a strong presentation that it could be the focal point of any costume display.
Silk taffeta ball gown, c.1870. The iridescent gold taffeta is as fresh and glowing today as when new. The hand-sewn bodice has a wide neckline, shoulder bows, and short pleated sleeves. It is cut longer and fuller in back. The bodice closes in back with hooks. The skirt features a dainty pleated bustle pad in back and a pleated hem flounce. The construction is superb, and the condition is excellent.
Hemingway wedding gown, c.1883. Made from cream-colored silk faille, it is finely embellished with a matching chiffon neckline insert, bands of crystal beads and faux pearls, and a wide bodice flounce of handmade Brussels lace. The exaggerated puffed sleeve caps and sweeping back train add drama to the design. The gown has the original boned under bodice as well as original silk laces for the back.
Hand-embroidered wedding dress, c.1881.The bodice and train are fashioned from fawn-colored silk faille. The skirt is made of substantial ivory silk satin. Both pieces are hand-embroidered with sprays of ivory silk floss flowers, executed in satin stitch with French knot accents. The superb hand embroidery sets this magnificent creation above other dresses on any day of the year. The style is regal and elegant, as befitting a bride on her special day.
Brussels lace parasol with ivory handle, 1860s. Made from handmade Brussels lace and lined with matching cream-colored silk, such a fancy parasol was more of a status symbol and fashion accessory than a sun shield. With the exquisite handmade lace top, the parasol would have been the proud possession of a lady of means. The floral lace forms a pretty scalloped edge. The shaft and finial are brass; the handle is hand-carved ivory. The condition is all original.
Silk taffeta dress, 1850s. Plaid taffeta dresses were almost a fashion uniform in the 1850s-1860s. The dress was styled to be worn as shown in the picture; or else with button-on lower sleeves. The one remaining lower sleeve will be included for study purposes. The low, wide neckline could be worn off the shoulders. The fullness of the neckline can be adjusted with drawstring ties. The sleeves are ruched at the top and trimmed with silk fringe at the hem.
#7088 $900 Sold
Chantilly lace parasol with carved ivory handle, 1860s. The aristocratic, diminutive parasol features fine Chantilly lace, an intricately hand carved handle, and an unusual combination of two silk linings. The top lining layer, under the lace, is ivory silk taffeta. The under layer is a delightful (and surprising) pink hue. The high relief carving of the ivory handle and finial is a work of art, one that requires both delicacy and decisiveness in the carver, since one mistake will ruin the entire piece. There are no mistakes in the exquisite ivory handle!
Native American beaded pouch, late 1800s. Ttotally beaded with tiny glass seed beads. The ivory cotton twill lining is hand stitched to the beaded exterior. Here is true folk art from over a century ago, when Native American culture still had an independent life. Unlike some "folk art" in the marketplace, the pouch is the real thing, made by Native Americans more than a century ago. This unique beaded bag is from the private collection of Desire Smith, the author of the authoritative Handbag Chic.
Jeanne Hallée Cluny lace bodice, c.1900. Made from handmade Cluny lace over bronzed gold lamé, the bodice features a haunting, mesmerizing design with two different oval motifs in two parallel rows, alternating the horizontal and vertical orientation of the motifs—an harmonious symphony in lace! The collar is embellished with horizontal bands of gold lamé and decorative cut-steel buttons set with rhinestones. The front opening has black chiffon panels sandwiched between the lace and the lamé. The panels form a cummerbund around the back waist.
French velvet boots, c.1890. Made from soft black velvet and lined with ivory linen. I love the turn-down burgundy velvet cuffs. The boots lace up the front with the original laces. The pointed soles and stacked heels are leather. The sharp-looking boots were meant to be worn outdoors, to be seen by all, especially by male eyes. The provocative red and black colors project their own subliminal frisson—all the more when the boots are taken off or put on.
Hand-embroidered silk cloak, c.1890-1900. Made from an ivory Chinese hand-embroidered silk shawl. The cape collar is formed by folding over one side of the shawl. The cloak closes in front with braided tassels and is bordered all around with hand-knotted silk fringe. The timeless floral design has a subtle, undying beauty, as if repeating a truth we knew even before we were born. This is art that conceals art, using symmetry by reflection, one of four types of planar symmetry and the most common in nature.
#1794 $1,975 Sold
Gentlemen's broad fall linen trousers, c.1850. The fly front began appearing in trousers in the mid 1840s, and the fall front grew wider. Both styles coexisted for a period of years. The pockets and facings are of écru cotton and are diagonally set in and so hidden by the fall front. The trousers retain all of the original bone buttons. This is a transitional style, retaining the broad fall front. For an artifact of men's fashion from over 150 years ago, the trousers are in amazingly good condition.
Pingat beaded velvet swan mantle, c.1890. From the peerless master of surface decoration and outerwear. The beaded pattern, subtle black-on-black design, appears abstract at first glance. On closer view, we can see a sublime Art Nouveau design of stylized swans. The curved front panels conform to the undulating sinuous quality of the swans. The neckline is bordered with clipped feathers. When the magnificent mantle is seen from a proper distance, it produces the intended effect—opulence, a somber mystery, and a touch of the exotic.
Beaded embroidered velvet cape, c.1895. This beautifully embellished cape can be displayed as part of your collection or worn with jeans. It is made from black velvet elaborately decorated with couched soutache and faceted black glass beads, whose subtle sparkle will delight all. The cape is lined with black taffeta and closes at the neckline with two large hooks that are original. The exotic floral motif draws the viewer in with its flowing, highly-stylized, curvilinear forms, perfectly capturing the Art Nouveau aesthetic, then at a peak of popularity.
Linen duster cape, c.1900. Our duster cape offered a protective cover for the first adventurous passengers or drivers in the new horseless carriage, which was often topless. The duster is sleeveless under the outer cape collar and has wonderful scalloped edges on the collar, pockets, and outer cape. The self-covered buttons in the front and on the pockets are miraculously all there. The cape is an important historical artifact that displays beautifully.
Ribbed bustle cage, 1880s. A short petticoat is attached to a back bustle extension shaped with steel rods. The bustle cage is made of heavy cotton twill and closes in front with 3 glass buttons. The shape and size of the bustle cage can be adjusted on the inside with lacing and buckles. The petticoat style helps keep the bustle positioned in back, where it should be. Since a bustle cage in good condition is difficult to find, this is an important Victorian fashion artifact.
Beaded ivory satin wedding shoes, c.1890. Featuring elaborately beaded toes and shapely high Louis heels, the shoes are lined with ivory kid, while the soles are leather. The embellishment on the toes is worked with slightly iridescent crystal beads, giving a hint of sparkling pastel color. The beaded satin bows are to die for. The beading is totally intact.
#1784 $975 Reserved
Boy's wool suit, c.1870. In the Victorian world, little boys under age six often wore skirts. The navy suit is decorated with bands of woven black trim and textured silk buttons, which miraculously are intact. The kilted skirt slips over the head with no closure and buttons to the shirt. The white cotton shirt has a wide collar, front pleats, and ruffles. A fascinating remnant of our cultural history.