Getting Dressed: Gilded Age Afternoon Dress

Getting Dressed: Gilded Age Afternoon Dress


[MUSIC PLAYING] This dress has been in our
collection for many years. It’s really the first time that
we’ve seen it on a mannequin. But today, pink is the color. And pink is an extraordinarily
vibrant and really electrifying color at this time, which
is in the late 1860s. And the dress that
we have really exemplifies how fashionable
New York women were. [MUSIC PLAYING] We’re here today
in costume storage. And we have a huge
collection, but we’ve pulled out a favorite dress. This dress was made by a New
York dressmaker whose name we don’t really know. But obviously, she was very
much informed by the latest French fashions of the time. It was owned by Annie Clotilde
Theresa Kerrigan, who married Henry Spangler Van Buren. And this particular
dress really is, I think, one of the more
extreme examples that we have in the collection. It’s a very romantic dress. It has a square neckline. It has long sleeves. We have a crinoline underneath
it, which is a cage. It’s lightweight. The ribs of it are collapsible. It is covered by a
petticoat, just so that the ribs don’t poke through
the very, very valuable silk that the dress is made from. You see a very
corseted waist, which says something about the
voice of women at this time. Women really could
not take a deep breath because they were
tightly corseted. Our lady here has a 22-inch
waist, which is really enhanced by the huge skirt. So in contrast, she
looks even smaller. It has an overskirt, which is
draped a la polonaise, which says something about fashion
during the 19th century, which constantly quotes earlier
periods of fashion, specifically the 18th century. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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