Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Edwardian Era Fashion Chit Chat - October 1906 The Delineator

Edwardian Era Fashion Chit Chat - October 1906 The Delineator

Fashions in New York

The vital question whether Empire lines shall be or shall not be, is at last decided as far as New York is concerned. All high class establishments have declared themselves upon the affirmative side, and are now busily preparing gowns cut with the elevated waist-line that is the distinctive feature of the Empire dress. It has taken some time to persuade the American woman to adopt the new fashion, but from present indications it will be seen in all dressy gowns throughout the Winter, and promises to become general towards Spring. Rejected at first as too radical, the picturesque but daringly unconventional lines of the Empire gown have been gradually modified until Josephine herself would fail to recognize, in the present-day product, the distinctive dress of her period. The belt-line of the modern Empire gown is considerably higher than nature indicates; the skirt is fuller and more graceful than the one from which it takes its name, and the long lines that fall from the softly draped bust are decidedly more chaste.

The up-to-date Empire gown admits of individual treatment, and it may be made to assume shapes readily adaptable to different figures. Thus, we find it in sheer, soft material, hanging quite free from the bust downward, over a perfectly fitted princess lining. In heavier goods, it falls loose in the immediate front and back, but is held in on each side by the ends of the popular and becoming cross-over fichu. Again, it descends in straight front effect from a deep, square yoke; and it also presents itself in the "New Empire," with its princess or normally girdled front, and its loose back hung from a short Eton or a high-waisted girdle. This is the style that is likely to prove particularly popular with the conservatives who, reluctant to adapt extreme styles, warmly welcome a happy compromise. They find the "New Empire" graceful and dignified, and less conspicuous for street wear.

The long coats and paletots, like the dressy gowns, show Empire lines, real, or else simulated by crossed bands, revers, and deep yoke effects. Made of the finest broadcloth, they are cut circular, front and back, and are elaborately trimmed with hand-embroidery, underlay and cut work, and the richest laces. The lining is soft brocade, or lustrous taffeta.

Evening cloaks are of cloth or velvet in any of the new tints of white or gray. They are lined with silk overlaid with plaited chiffon, and a ruche at the foot peeps out below the hem. The sleeves widen into bell shape, and end half-way between the wrist and elbow. Many of the dressy wraps are almost cape form, and others are shown with an attached hood, oftener long and pointed than round. The materials and trimmings are as luxurious as the wearer can afford.

The coat suits for morning and also for ordinary afternoon wear show less tendency toward the Empire styles than do the dressy garments. The imported models, as usual, have the full-length skirts the Parisians will not give up, but the American tailors are reproducing them in walking length almost exclusively. The entirely circular skirt has been superseded by the plaited or tucked skirt, cut straight, with many separate and flaring gores. One or two of the new models show straight gores at the side and in front, joined to a decidedly circular back. This back fits smoothly and snugly at the top, but about fifteen inches below the belt it falls into box-plaits that widen as they descend. These plaits are finished at the top in a picket point and appear to be held in place by a narrow strap set two inches below the point.

The gores of the new skirts flare out sharply. Many are tight-lined, as in the old days before we made the acquaintance of the drop-skirt. Circular bands of cloth trim the skirt and emphasize the flare. Broad silk braid answers the same purpose, if skillfully applied, and rows of narrower braid parallel it at intervals. The circular bands may be continuous, or they may be applied in sections and joined by buttons and simulated loops of cord.

These bands are of plain cloth upon plaids, checks and tweeds, and of velvet, overlaid with fine cloth cut work. Sometimes the band is of self material ornamented with a Greek border of velvet or of cloth strapping.

The coats of the new suits show unusual diversity in shape. Some are in three-quarter length, fitting the figure snugly. Others are smart Etons, cut rather square in the front and so short in the back that they require a shaped belt. The chic "pony" coat is also seen, its attractive lines emphasized with stripes of rich silk braid woven in new and decorative designs.

Few, if any, of the coat suits show the high waist-line, but some of the fancy models simulate the Empire effects by means of shaped revers that cross in the back and are continued under the arm to their starting point in front. A model of this style, made in fine, silver-gray cloth had a simple Eton coat for its basis. Deeply-notched revers were shaped to follow the outline of the coat, and finished at the outer edge with a triple cording in three different shades of metallic green. The revers met in the back, passed down the centre, and were carried to the front in girdle effect. From beneath the lower edge flowed a circular peplum, about six inches in depth. The waistcoat if ivory cloth, embroidered in shades of gray and picked out in gold, that hung straight in front and was crossed in double-breasted effect, lent a touch of quiet elegance. Altogether the model was highly original and wonderfully smart upon a slender figure.

Sleeves are creeping downward very perceptibly, but they have not yet attained full length, even in fur garments. Several clever devices have been introduced to provide a comfortable covering for the arm in cold weather, that shall not sacrifice the smartness of the abbreviated sleeve. These are made adjustable to the lining of the coat sleeve by means of loops and buttons or with patent fasteners, and we are likely to see them with greater frequency as the season advances. These arm coverings admit of original treatment, and one may vary them in many ways. For example, I saw a model in brown broadcloth where the three-quarter sleeve was finished with a turn-back cuff that flared considerably. Projecting from beneath was a detachable under-sleeve, made of a double bias puff of brown moire, ending at the wrist in a cuff that duplicated in miniature the one on the sleeve. A black cloth model showed a deep mitaine of panne velvet running up inside the coat sleeve. It was wrinkled like a suede glove, and buttoned closely along the outer seam. In another model, a deep and seamless cuff was shaped to the arm by means of lengthwise cord tucks, and closed with a lacer threaded through worked eyelets. In a long separate coat of tweed the sleeve was bell shaped and faced on the inner side with green suede. Two inches from the lower edge of the sleeve and at the outer seam, there were set three buttons of the suede rimmed with silver in a horizontal row and at regular intervals. By means of a little tab of tweed, lined with the green and buttonholed at each end, the wearer might gather up the width of the bell sleeve and adjust it closely or half closely to her arm.

The imported tailored suits show touches of strong color combined in the daring fashion the French understand so well. The range of color in the early Autumn gowns includes light and dark reds showing a ruby tint, and browns in golden and in warm russet tones. Homespuns, imported broadcloths and other woollens with fine black lines crossing Tartan and shepherd plaids and with the black bars in camel's hair stripes are offered for morning wear, to be made up in severely tailored effects.

Many of the October brides will wear gowns of rich satin, although chiffon overlaid with quantities of real lace flouncing will also be seen. Empire lines seem to be favored most, but princess lines are followed in those cases where it is a pity to hide the perfect figure of the bride. The satin gowns are perfectly plain and show hand embroidery, in silks, chenille, silver and seed-pearls, outlining the hem and trailing up the seams. The design of the embroidery should be original, and preferably it should embody the birth flower of the bride as its main motif.

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