Edwardian Era Fashion Chit Chat - June 1903 The Delineator
Dress and Gossip of Paris
One of the prominent dressmakers, whose family has been engaged for several generations in creating dreams of fashion, recently made this interesting remark regarding clothes, at the same time throwing a strong light upon the occupations of the modern woman as compared with the woman of fifty years ago: "Formerly," he said, "we used to devote our attention particularly to the 'house dress,' the 'robe d'interieur.' Now it has practically disappeared, and we make instead every variety of street dress, from the costume with short skirt for morning wear to the elaborate creations which our customers don for afternoon outings.
The street dress has also reached a degree of charm and perfection which recommends it to the lovers of feminine grace. The soft materials of this season, the ample skirts and full sleeves, the drooping collars, the large, simply trimmed hats, all combine to give the modern woman the same romantic, enchanting appearance as the grandes dames of bygone days. And the infinite variety permissible in styles, materials, colours, makes it possible for a woman to change all but her personality a dozen times a day. A Summer morning begins, for example, with a short skirt of white duck; this has a small yoke around the hips and from there falls in pleats to the ankles, which are encased in white gaiters. A bolero, also pleated and hanging loose from the shoulders, covers a chemisette of white batiste trimmed with narrow ribbons which pass in and out of the eyelet holes embroidered in the muslin. A soft white felt hat is kept from being commonplace by a large red poppy placed at one side over a bunch of green reeds which encircle the crown.
Later in the day, between golf and luncheon, the peignoir and the matinee reclaim the woman from sport to femininity. A charming matinee is made of white dotted muslin with insertions of lace, the whole accordian-pleated and held in by a broad pink satin belt which appears only in the back, leaving the front loose. Around the hem is a deep, full ruffle of pink chiffon, which is repeated over a broad turn-over collar. A peignoir for Summer days is made of pale blue silk-chiffon, which hangs straight from the shoulders. The armholes are cut out from the waist to the top of the arm, so that the short sleeve is enormously full, and the only trimming is a stole of guipure which falls to the hem and has two capes over the shoulders.
The very latest thing in materials is toile de soie or silk linen. It is made in China and is the light brown colour of pongee, and it may be striped in a colour or have a plaid design. It should be made up with a certain simplicity of design. Foulards and Liberty foulards with enormous patterns are worn. Very often the pattern begins small and increases in size toward the hem, where it forms a border.
Borders of all sorts are greatly the fashion. Plain linens in pale colours are made new and irresistible by the addition of an embroidered border. The design is generally in small flowers, in dots or in open circles, and the embroidery is in silk and linen. Not only on wash goods are these bands used but also on nun's veiling. They make the trimming of a dress with the addition of lace. For example, a grey nun's veiling has the entire skirt in pleats, on every other one of which is stitched a band embroidered in pale green and blues. It grows larger toward the hem and is repeated in miniature on the full sleeves and on the deep Louis XIII collar.
A dress somewhat difficult to wear but which created a furor at the vernissage was in white cloth as thin as linen. The skirt was made with five flounces, and each flounce had an embroidered band in Oriental colours and two black ribbons run in and out of the holes made for the purpose. The sleeve was trimmed in the same way as the flounces, and over the shoulders was a cape through which the ribbons passed, continuing to the waist, where they fell in two bows. The large hat turned up at one side, and on the other was a jobot of lace which ended at the shoulder.
It is correct to wear a veil of the same colour as the hat, with fine close chenille dots, and the hats themselves are generally of a solid colour. A round morning toque is made of shiny bright green straw, which is braided into a full brim that makes a trimming of itself. A bright green veil gives the finishing touch to this startling Spring acquisition, and the dress that accompanies it is made of brown mohair trimmed with silk fringes and a narrow collar of Irish lace.
Another hat is in pepper red straw; it turns up at one side over a bow of pepper red satin dotted in velvet, and a solid red veil must be worn with it. The costume for which it has been chosen is in the new voile de soie with a heavy plaid design in pepper-red plaid. It is made with a pleated skirt set onto a yoke under a band of red stitched taffetas which is repeated on the bolero. Black and white, has, except for half mourning, completely disappeared.
The jewellers have combined with the milliners to create a head-gear which, while it serves as hat, has no inconveniences for the theatre. It consists of a close-fitting, very small bonnet, something like a baby's cap, made of lace of guipure over a frame; the only trimming are two jewelled horns, or antennae as they are called. They lie furled close to the head like a butterfly's antennae and are made of diamonds or colored stones. With the hair dresses low in the neck the effect is novel.
An exquisite evening dress which has lately been created by one of the large houses is made in the following combination: The skirt, which is made of black crepe de Chine has an overskirt in three flounces of chenille fringe. Each flounce has a border of jet and spangles. The waist is low necked, with two straps of jet over the shoulders, and the trimming is a deep fringe of chenille held across the front of the bodice by a band of jet. In the hair are worn two black chenille poppies with jet centres.
Among the most recent achievements of French women are those of Madame George Victor Hugo and Madame Emilie Carlier. The latter has just received the cross of the Legion of Honor because of her heroic conduct during the Armenian massacres of 1895, when her husband was Consul for France. Madame George Victor Hugo is publishing a series of notes from the journal of her voyage last Summer to the Arctic Ocean, Jan-Mayen Land and other regions where no woman had ever penetrated. Her account gives a vivid picture of the adventures which attend any expedition into the unexplored north.