La Belle Assemblée, December 1814.
“Opera, Theatre, and Evening Party Wrap.”
This evening wrap, invented by Mrs. Bell, is praised to the moon in the fulsome description below. Her innovations include a new wool made from the fur of the female llama, that will keep ladies warm and prevent them from contracting colds as they leave the opera. (Seriously, that is how it is described.) The trimming is also new, a type of faux fur perfected by Mrs. Bell.
The hood of the wrap incorporates Mrs. Bell’s famous “Ladies’ Chapeau Bras,” a collapsible hat.
With all of this inventiveness by Mrs. Bell, it should come as no surprise that the description is very long, mentions her several times, and lauds her excellent taste and creativity ad nauseum. She must surely have written it herself.
The print is described in the magazine as follows:
“OPERA, THEATRE, EVENING PARTIES, AND CARRIAGE WRAP. White lace frock over a white satin slip, made to fit the shape in front, and laced up on each side of the bosom, with white silk cord; full back, drawn only in three places, that is at the bottom of the waist, at the top, and between the shoulders; double quilling of blond, edged with white penny ribband round the bosom, and a double row of the same round the bottom of the dress. Over this is thrown a new wrapping cloak, manufactured from the wool of the female lama; unlike most inventions of a similar nature, it is both elegant and useful: a fine figure appears in it to considerable advantage, With respect to the cloth, we never saw anything so exquisitely beautiful; its delicate softness, its transcendent fineness; and what is, perhaps, a superior recommendation, the warmth that it communicates to the frame, renders it an indispensable appendage to the out-door costume of ladies of fashion; and we congratulate Mrs. Bell upon an invention which will contribute so much to the comfort of the fair sex.–This wrap will effectually secure ladies from the effects of colds, which are generally created by ladies leaving the opera, the theatre, evening parties, or their carriages, without a proper covering; it is made so that it may be worn over the most elegant dress, without the least deranging it; and thrown off the dress momentarily. To render the wrap more useful, the Ladies’ Chapeau Bras forms the hood: thus the most effectual means are conceived for the prevention of colds, incidental to the winter, and the danger of leaving warm places, without a proper covering. The trimming which ornaments the wrap is the newly invented Britannia trimming, far more elegant than fur, and the best substitute for fur hitherto discovered. It has, we understand, cost Mrs. Bell much trouble and expence, to bring it to its present perfection; it is intended not only for trimmings, but also for hats, bonnets, &c. a purpose for which it is most admirably adapted. One of the chief recommendations of this trimming, is its novelty, nothing of the kind having ever been introduced before; and, perhaps no article which has ever been brought before the public, is so well calculated to answer the purposes for which it is intended. As a substitute for fur, its merits are obvious, while from the lightness of its texture it is considerably more elegant than fur; for muffs and tippets, it is far superior to swansdown; and our fair fashionables consider it so elegant in hats and bonnets, that they order scarcely anything else.
“The above dresses were invented by Mrs. Bell, Inventress of the Ladies’ Chapeau Bras, and of whom only they can be had, at her Magazin des Modes, No. 26, Charlotte-street, Bedford-square.”