What was the well-dressed young woman wearing in the first half of 1827?
January 5 saw the death of Frederick Duke of York, Prinny’s younger brother—which meant mourning at court for the fashionable population. But no one ever said that black had to be boring…and it certainly isn’t in this stunning Opera Costume (Ackermann’s Repository). Though I must say that if I were at the opera, I would not want to be sitting behind anyone wearing a hat like that!
I find the sleeves on this Evening Dress from March’s Ackermann’s Repository fascinating, shaped as they are on wire or bone. Note the plaid shawl: the mania for things Scottish was still in full swing:
Here’s a Carriage Dress in sunny yellow for April, with some ornate applique decoration down the front of the skirt, a deep, lace-edged collar that presages the enormous pelerines to come into fashion in just a couple of years, and gauze oversleeves. Note that her hat is half blue, half yellow—and that its long ribbon ties are also blue on one side, yellow on the other! (Ackermann’s Repository):
Also from April Ackermann’s is a pink Ball Dress with an appliqued overskirt—perhaps muslin over pink satin?—and puff sleeves decorated with free-standing petals. Her gloves are ruffle-edged (I love these!) and her dancing slippers lace up the ankles, a la ballet shoe. Note the heavily curled hairstyle—common this year and into next:
Here’s a total confection of an Evening Dress from May’s Ackermann’s: lace flounces at the pouffed hem and making up the puffed sleeves, geometric applique topped the lace flounce, reminiscent of the angular sleeves back in March’s dress, more ruffled gloves (yay!), and a hat of truly heroic proportions, featuring a lot of ostrich plumes: I can’t tell if the jeweled band in front is a separate tiara, or part of the millinery. And then that flame-colored fan setting it all off—very attention-getting!
Big hats were definitely the thing this year, as we can see from this Morning Dress from May’s Lady’s Magazine, complete with original description: A high gown of lavender-colored gros de Naples, with two flounces, elegantly scaloped at the edges, and headed with a corkscrew trimming of the same; a marked distance between the flounces; these flounces are rather narrow, and are set on in festoons, while the body is made plain, and a narrow triple frill encircles the throat. Hat of pink satin, trimmed with scrolls and ornaments of the same, and a few summer flowers; pink strings floating loose. An amber-colored shawl of Chinese crape is generally worn with this dress. However, the fashion editor goes on to decry the enormous size of hats this season: “…we do not altogether admire their shape, and they are in general too large.”
And of course, as if in answer to that charge, here is an Evening Dress from June’s Ackermann’s with a most minimal headdress. The skirt and sleeves have elegant gold edged appliques, and even the gloves are threaded with gold ribbon to match. Very elegant!
This is Ball Dress is a complete delight! I love the pink of the underskirt shining through the gauzy overskirt, and the magenta ribbon decorations on the lower part of the skirt, looking rather like the lacing on a pair of shoes, is original. Loops of matching ribbon adorn the neck and sleeves; they must have fluttered fetchingly in the midst of dancing…and again, the ribbon lacing at the tops of the gloves is adorable (Ackermann’s, June):