Ball Dress, October 1816

Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, October 1816.

“Ball Dress”

I am very fond of this print, more for the lovely patrician face of the model than for the dress, which is a bit too fussy for my taste. My personal preference is for the styles a decade or so earlier, which are more Grecian, more simple, and more sexy. By 1816, skirts had become more bell-shaped and typically had lots of flounces or other decoration along a large portion of the bottom. But I do, of course, love the shawl!

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“A gown, composed of white gauze, of an exquisitely beautiful and glossy texture: it is worn over a maiden-blush satin slip. For the form of the dress, which is in the highest degree novel and elegant, we refer our readers to our print. The trimming is a rich rollio of intermingled gauze and satin at the bottom of the dress, above which is a wreath of fancy flowers, and this wreath is surmounted by white satin draperies: the general effect of this trimming is uncommonly tasteful and striking. The hair is much parted on the forehead, and dressed very low at the sides; and the hind hair, brought up very high, forms a tuft. Head-dress, a wreath of French roses, placed so as apparently to support the hind hair. Necklace, bracelets, and ear-rings of pearl. White kid slippers and gloves.”

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