Walking Dress, March 1818

Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, March 1818.

“Walking Dress”

This print and the other fashion print in the March 1818 issue of the magazine are both mis-labeled as April 1818.

1818 seems to be the year of the cork hat. This hat, as well as several other shown in prints of 1818, use bits of cork in the decoration of the hat. I have not run across this use of cork in earlier prints. And every instance of a cork hat, at least among my collection of prints, is shown with a dress designed my Miss Macdonald. In the British Lady’s Magazine she is several times mentioned as the “inventress of the Ionian Cork Hats.”

Typical of 1818 are the bell-shaped skirt, the fussy flounce, and the very high waist.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“A fawn-coloured poplin gown made half-length: the back is plain, and the front wraps a little to the left side; the body is trimmed with two rows of white satin ribbon painted in natural flowers. Plain long sleeve, finished at the wrist to correspond. The bottom of the skirt is very tastefully trimmed with painted ribbon interspersed with bows. Head-dress a small gipsy hat composed of cork, cut in the same manner as willow-shavings, ornamented with a bunch of cork flowers coloured to resemble nature, and a full plume of fawn-coloured feathers. A small round cap is worn under the hat; it has a full quilling of net around the face. We must observe that the hat is not lined, but has a row of painted ribbon put round the inside of the brim, which resembles at a distance a wreath of flowers. Fawn-colored kid slippers and gloves, and a rich silk shawl, complete this dress.

“We are indebted to the invention and taste of Miss Macdonald of 50, South Molton-street, for both our dresses this month [including this one].”


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