Edwardian Era Fashion Chit Chat - October 1904 The Delineator
Fashions in New York
The vogue of Louis XVI and Directoire styles is now assured. All dresses are lavishly decorated, and the hand work on even the simplest frock makes it a costly affair, unless one is clever enough to do this work oneself. Some of the specimens of the Louis frock are wonderful, but in no way can they be said to be in accord with principles of economy. These styles, however, are to a certain extent adaptable to individual tastes and needs.
The leading couturieres declare that the best-styled gowns are faithful representations of the models worn by Marie Antoinette. Even the styles of "1830" suffer by comparison with these creations, which, however, demand the right shades in the right materials, with quantities of beautiful lace and embroidery. An example recently imported was fashioned of messaline - the most charming of soft silks - in old French green. The bodice fastened at the back in Marie Antoinette fashion and had a deep point in front. Arranged in tiers were exquisite Louis XVI buttons set in rosettes of taffeta and outlined with palest Malmaison pink chiffon velours. The sloping shoulders were held up with a deep tucker of old Viennese point, worked with silver threads. The skirt was plaited very full on the hips, and the front panel - quite the newest thing in skirts - was trimmed around the bottom with ruches of lace outlined with the velvet, and rosettes of green taffeta, having crystal button centres, were set at regular intervals at the top of each ruche. Around the bottom of the skirt, at the sides and back, there was a ruche of the silk outlined with shaded green velvet leaves.
Another beautiful gown, to be worn at ceremonious functions this season, is made of gray chiffon, veiled with gray lace of an Old World pattern. The train, which is the especial note of interest, is composed of the two airy fabrics attached to the shoulders by means of loops and silver gray cords. More attractive even than the most beautiful mixtures is this one-color gown; it is more distinguished, more individual than any other style.
The smartest model of the tailored coat is a tight-fitting affair thirty-six of fifty inches in length, and its success lies in perfect adjustment and finish. Many of these long jackets are made very tight back and front, or loose all around in tourist effect. Collar and revers of velvet of a tone to harmonize are the correct trimming for the dressy tailor coat, while that intended for utility may have the velvet collar replaced by one of leather.
Tailored costumes are made of the checked and striped English stuffs and of covert cloth.
A novelty of the season is the fifty-inch hip gore coat, a model of exceptional style when perfectly tailored and becomingly adapted.
Some of the smart people will adopt, this season, the velvet Louis coat, with the cloth skirt of the same color, and shades of tan are the choice of the most fastidious. The idea is at once practical and attractive, though the greatest care must be exercised in choosing just the right shade in the velvet and cloth. There are those who will reverse this idea, and wear the velvet skirt with the cloth coat, which is quite as modish.
The newest and most popular of the season's negligees are of Empire design, or at least are a modification of this picturesque idea. These short waisted robes are fashioned from the softest, most pliable fabrics - India silk, crepe de Chine, soft woollens and even dainty, sheer lingerie stuffs - and they show a lavish amount of lace and ribbon garniture. In almost every instance they are quite collarless, and their flowing lines from the short body are full of beauty and grace. Black - the note of distinction that is usually apparent upon the gowns designed by the best French dressmakers - is introduced in the form of fancy stitches or velvet ribbon on some of the most attractive house gowns. The use of flowered ribbons is noticeable on negligees, and transparent lace or enbroidery guimpes or tuckers to wear inside the low neck is a pleasing suggestion. Ribbon or velvet run through eyelets, beading or button-holed slashes is sometimes used for drawing the tuckers in at the top, although they are also made to fit snugly, in which case such a method of adjustment is not required. Plain effects are generally the most becoming to women of full figures.
It is a day of revivals; and the stomacher, as the long, boned deep point of the fashionable bodice is called, is much in evidence. Deep, pointed girdles and belts distinguish many of the most stylish gowns, and in these a touch of harmonizing or contrasting color can be introduced. These dress accessories are most important, and the clever woman is she who, with only a few pretty dresses but a generous supply of belts and sashes and neck wear, can be well gowned for any occasion.
Some of the newest combinations of color are quaint, and strongly suggest the long ago, when our grandmothers wore snuff color and green blended in plaids or stripes for church and calling. Bright, solid colors - old rose, sky blue, primrose yellow and apple green - are revived, and when carefully handled they are charming.
For hats, the Directoire is perhaps the most striking model, and no headgear is so suitable to the modish frock. The sweeping paradise feather is the trimming par excellence for these picture hats, and a charming example is in marron brown trimmed with a bird of paradise, which shades from marron to orange.
Even in the manner of dressing her hair the fashionable woman copies the Directoire modes.
A low-neck corset-cover, with its strap bands falling below the shoulder, is a very wise as well as a beautiful idea. It insures comfort through absence of bulk and wrinkles and comfortably accomodates the low-neck bodice. Silk batiste and mull, in pale, delicate colors and white, are used to make some of the daintiest of these corset-covers. They are full over the bust, with tucks rather than darts about the waist, and they end, as do all newest covers, at the belt. A circular peplum is easily added, if one prefer it. Wash ribbons run through beading are extensively used on these dainty creations, and the new beadings, by the way, display the ribbons to better advantage. They are wonderfully attractive, the ribbon being drawn under lace showing flowers of various kinds and all manner of pretty conventional designs. Embroidery, consisting of a monogram or initials or favorite flowers, enters into the decorative scheme of the fashionable lingerie.