Edwardian Era Fashion Chit Chat - October 1904 The Delineator
Dress and Gossip of Paris
Speaking of the falling off in the book trade of France, some one recently remarked: "How can the modern young people read? They never sit down!" This habit of being always on the "go," which, certainly, is very twentieth-century, has undoubtedly influenced the fashions. Formerly the "house dress" was the great affair of the dressmakers in the Rue de la Paix; now, and especially in this Winter season, the dress which one wears out of the house is most to be considered.
Perhaps the newest thing of the year's end is a mantelet in fur which is to be the rage; it is made with three ruffles of fur, sealskin, chinchilla, sable, moleskin, or even beaver. These ruffles, falling below the waist in the back, are narrowed into two long ends which finish at the knees in front. There is a flat band of the fur around the neck mounted with ruches of taffetas or of lace.
As brown is the most fashionable color of the season, sealskin will be more worn than any other fur for the daytime. White fox and ermine are still correct for evening wear.
Brocades are to be very much worn both in single tones and in contrasting colours. For example, an extremely handsome gown for the theatre or dinner, is made with a skirt of white crepe de Chine with a tucked panel down the front, and a coat of white silk, brocaded in large black roses. Hydrangea satin was used for facing the jacket. The long basques of the coat fall to the knees. There is a belt of black satin and folds of the brocade which finish the coat above like a separate bodice and an empiecement of transparent lace which also forms the collar.
For the street, cloth and all of the smooth woollen materials will be popular.
The newest fur boas are no longer flat, but round, and actually like the boa. Quite a novelty are the little eiderdown boas only about three-quarters of a yard long, worn close around the neck.
Hats are small for the street and very large, indeed, for dressy occasions. Aigrettes are much worn, spangled and jetted tulle for turbans.
As outer garments, long coats entirely of fur or with revers and high cuffs of fur are much to be worn. Evening wraps should be made in rich velvets of any colour between royal purple and lavender or light red and deep crimson. Another material used for opera cloaks is embroidered cloth. The cloth, of a delicate tone, has Japanese-like designs, or patterns with openwork motifs, embroidered in the same tint.
Amongst the new materials is flowered chiffon. On a ground, for example, of pale blue, there are at intervals, alternating with stripes of the plain material, stripes of roses falling like a garland. This is the sort of chiffon used for skirts with the Louis XV coats of satin or brocade.
Nothing could be more correct and yet more Parisian than this evening gown of spangled tulle; "night" blue is the colour of the material, which is dotted over with paillettes as the night sky is with stars. The skirt has three deep flounces and a long train. The bodice, perfectly plain, is draped square across the front, leaving the shoulders entirely bare and the arms covered only by a short puff. The richness of the material makes unnecessary any trimming. In the hair is an ornament of spangles. Nothing, on the other hand, could be more elaborate than this heavy satin made en princesse with flounces of gold lace falling over the shoulders and down the back, narrow at the hips and broad at the hem of the long train; or this grey moire gown, with its four flounces of ruffled Venetian lace, its fichu of the same falling over a pointed bodice and finishing the short full sleeve.
Generally speaking bodices are made round for day gowns, and pointed for evening dresses. Very smart afternoon costumes have a chiffon skirt with a Louis XV coat. The waist is drawn in a bit so that the fulness around the hips does not deprive one of grace.
Laced boots have quite gone out of fashion. They may be worn for skating or for golf, but with a street costume they are very inappropriate.
The ornaments worn in the hair are numerous and almost as important as hats. They are either high and caught at one side of the chignon, or else they are low and full and attached at each side of the head a la Gismonda. They are made of spangled gauze, of artificial roses covered with mother-of-pearl sequins, of jetted aigrettes, or of maiden-hair upon which are strwen rhinestone drops of dew. For those who have jewels it is a fancy to wear only a band of velvet the colour of one's gown across the front of the hair with a diamond ornament to hold it in position.
Even for belts there is a new touch: the buckle, which should be round or oval now, is worn in the middle of the back and the belt is fastened in front with a small clasp. These buckles for evening blouses may be made on an iron frame with a covering of ruffled gold braid or of tiny artificial roses. The effect is charming.