Evening Dress, June 1816

Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, June 1816.

“Evening Dress”

This is an example of the fussiness of the late Regency, the over-the-top ornamentation, especially seen in evening dresses, that begins to take us out of the neoclassical style we most associate with the Regency. There is just way too much going on for my taste, from the bodice, to the sleeves, to the deep, overly ornamented flounce. Though the waist is fashionably high, the skirt is beginning to show the bell shape that will transform the narrow Regency silhouette within a few years.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“This dress is composed of white lace, and worn over a rich soft satin slip; the skirt is finished round the bottom by a deep flounce of lace and three narrow byas satin tucks, which are surmounted by a wreath of beautiful fancy flowers. The body and sleeves are peculiarly elegant and novel; a satin front, which forms the shape in an easy and becoming style, is ornamented at each side with a light embroidery of flowers, and finished with bows of ribbon. The sleeve, for which we must refer our readers to the print, is, we think, the most tasteful that has been lately introduced. The hair is parted so as partially to display the forehead, and ornamented with a wreath of flowers. Necklace, ear-rings, and bracelets of diamonds. White kid gloves, and white satin slippers richly embroidered in coloured silks. A rich white lace scarf is thrown carelessly over the left shoulder, and partially shades one side of the neck.”

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