Evening Mourning Dress, January 1818

Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, January 1818.

“Evening Dress”

Eveing Mourning Dress January 1818
This mourning dress is in honor of the death of Princess Charlotte on November 6, 1817. It actually represents half-mourning as it incorporates white (full mourning would be stark black), and as it was 2 months since the popular princess’s death, half-mourning would have been appropriate.

Mourning, at least for a public figure and not for a close relation, clearly allowed for evening entertainments, based on the number of evening mourning dresses shown in the fashion prints.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“A black crape frock over a black sarsnet slip: the body is composed of white crape tastefully ornamented with deep vandykes of black velvet, each vandyke finished at the point by a little light ornament of black chenille. Short full sleeve of intermixed black and white crape; the fullness drawn to the middle of the arm, and confined in three separate folds by vandykes of black velvet. The bottom of the skirt is finished by a row of black velvet vandykes, surmounted by a large rouleau of white crape, entwined with black chenille. Above this is a piece of white crape, tucked byas, and finished at the edges by rows of black crape leaves; two rows of roses, set on at small distances, and without leaves, which are composed of black crape mixed with chenille complete this elegant and novel trimming. Headdress, a white crape toque, for the form of which we refer to our print: it is elegantly ornamented round the front with chenille, and finished by a diadem of white crape roses. The hair is dressed full on the temples, and much parted in front. Ear-rings, armelts, necklace, and cross composed of jet. Black shamoy leather gloves and slippers, the latter ornamented with rosettes of white chenille. A black China crape scarf, richly worked at the ends in an embroidery of white flowers, and finished by a rich black silk fringe, is thrown carelessly over the shoulders. …

“We are indebted to the taste and invention of Miss McDonald of No. 84, Wells-street, for both our dresses this month.”

The section entitled General Observations on Fashion and Dress describes dresses of all sort primarily in terms of black and white, appropriate for half-mourning.





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