Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Dress

Date:
1879–80
Culture:
British
Medium:
wool, silk
Credit Line:
Gift of Miss Irene Lewisohn, 1937
Accession Number:
C.I.37.46.35a, b
Not on view
With the mechanization of sewing becoming ubiquitous, as well as the Victorian penchant for machine-made trimmings such as braid, lace and ribbons, women's dress became the foundation to which elaborate surface decoration was applied, not unlike the mass produced ornate trims added to the exterior of Victorian homes. These two examples poised in the brief period between the vogue for the lighter, puffed bustles of the 1870s and the more heavily upholstered bustles of the 1880s were seen in their day as à la sirene, or mermaid-like, in silhouette. Their extended bodices, called the "cuirasse" since they encased a woman's torso like body armor, were the clearest 19th century expression of the hourglass shape.
Marking: [label] (on inner belt of jacket and waistband of skirt) "Boothroyd, Sons & Rimmer, Costumiers and General Drapers, Lord St. Southport"
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