Friday, March 14, 2008

Mull it Over

American Dress

American Dress, 1872–73. White cotton mull with self-ruching. Purchase, Judith and Ira Sommer Gift, 2002 (2002.252a, b).

This summer gown represents the first period of the bustle silhouette, 1870 to 1875, which disappears between 1876 and 1881, returns in 1882, and survives in modified form until 1889. Unlike the heavily upholstered bustle of the 1880s, this gown reflects the transitional nature of the form, which derived from the umbrella-shaped crinoline styles of the 1860s. The first bustle dresses appeared to be earlier wide-skirted gowns deprived of their crinoline hoops with the resulting plenitude of fabric pulled up to the back waist creating a large pouf, or bustle.

While the new silhouette appeared to free women from the encumbrance of the earlier hoops, the skirt still required a framed support. The crinoline simply became more cylindrical and was structured to align closer to the front of the legs and pull away from the body at the back. Commonly, bustle pads—small pillows, wire coils, even rattan croissant-like baskets—were attached at the waist to accentuate the buttocks and support the volume of the hoop and skirt. The fragile airiness of this mull gown belies the rigorous constraints of the corset and the engineered structure of cantilevered hoops and false bottoms that created its silhouette.

Comments (9)

  1. Lisa Says:

    This dress is beautiful… It reminded me of ariel from the little mermaid. The contrast of the two colors and fabrics work really well together. =)

  2. Diana Says:

    Is there any reason why the bustle disappeared for some time?

  3. joanna Says:

    I love this dress it is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo cool i want to buy it to wear it

  4. Connie Davolt Says:

    The detail, the extraordinary talents of needle and thread - beauty of the time, defined. Unique shape for today, but let us not abandon the details as we redefine beauty!

  5. stephanie Says:

    i like this dress because is cute and it is from the others times

  6. Lulu Says:

    Is that a wedding dress?

  7. Laurie Aron Says:

    Why does the shape of women’s bodies have to change constantly?

  8. Deborah Calnan Says:

    I long for a time when both men & women dress with a sense of style & pride in themselves , like the people who would have worn these garments . Banish bland & boring clothing and bring back fun , creativity & individuality . Track pants have a lot to answer for !

  9. meimi1995529 Says:

    the lace is so see through and it seems really sort of motherly. not something i want to wear.

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