Charles Frederick Worth (French, born England, 1825–1895)
Silk, glass, metallic thread
Gift of Mr. Orme Wilson and Mr. R. Thornton Wilson in memory of their mother, Mrs. Caroline Schermerhorn Astor Wilson, 1949 (C.I.49.3.28a,b)
Evening dress, 1892
House of Worth (French, 1858–1956)
Silk, crystal, metallic threads
Gift of Mr. Orme Wilson and Mr. R. Thornton Wilson in memory of their mother, Mrs. Caroline Schermerhorn Astor Wilson, 1949 (C.I.49.3.25a,b)
Both of these evening dresses provide examples of the quality of dressmaking for which Charles Frederick Worth and the House of Worth were renowned among society women worldwide by the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Both feature lavish textiles and ornamental embroidery picked out in metallic thread and glass or crystal beads. Textiles for dresses such as these were often woven or embroidered à la disposition, as separate pieces designed to become specific parts of the dress, such as a center front skirt panel. Significant design details, such as the beaded stars at the hemline of the dress on the left (C.I.49.3.28a,b) and the asymmetry of the skirt drapery, differentiate Worth gowns from the countless imitators of the period.