Ball gown

Design House House of Worth French
Designer Charles Frederick Worth French, born England

Not on view

Worth rarely scrutinized or adapted forms from the East; in this unusual example, he has emulated Middle Eastern enamels. More often, he was an instrument of a Western taste that was projected globally via imperialism. He is said to have created 250 dresses on commission from Empress Eugénie for her appearances at the opening of the Suez Canal in 1868. This gown was worn by Mrs. William De Forest Manice, the donor's grandmother, at both the French and English courts during the reigns of Napoleon III and Queen Victoria. When worn on such occasions, the dress had a detachable brocade train, since destroyed.

Ball gown, House of Worth (French, 1858–1956), silk, French

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