Tuesday, October 29, 2019

La Belle Assemblée for the Win


I rather think that this Kensington Garden Walking Dress from the July 1809’s La Belle Assemblée can only be described as a complete and utter show-stopper. Can't you just see eyes widening and heads whipping around as our young lady, attired thus, ambles through the park on a fine early summer day!

The accompanying text reads as follows: A spenser bodice of pale pink sarsnet. White muslin dress, with double row of scollop lace forming a light flounce round the bottom, over which is worn a black lace mantle and train. Egyptian bonnet, composed of pink sarsnet and antique lace. Shoes and gloves of pale yellow. Amber necklace and earrings. Hair after the Egyptian manner. Parasol of pink and brown shot, with white fringe.

The pink spenser (with a slightly military air lent by the simple frogging down the front) and white muslin dress with rows of lace around the hem seem ordinary enough for a nice stroll along garden paths. The Egyptian bonnet, which looks like the offspring of a tricorn hat and a turban, wakes things up a bit, and the pink and brown shot (taffeta? silk?) parasol with white fringe is charming…

But then the ensemble takes a turn into Hollywood fantasy costume with that black lace mantle, set on the shoulders with a dramatic flaring collar (tied with a prosaic little cord!) Its got an almost science fictional feel to it, that collarbut the lace turns that on its head and into I dont know what! 

And dragging on the ground (yes, that’s right—a lace mantle as part of a walking dress.) Is it conspicuous consumption, utter frivolity, or...or what?

I think I need a little lie-down now—this print packs a wallop! How about you? Would you wear this on your next foray into Kensington park?

1 comment:

Daisy said...

I'd definitely wear it. I love the cape an the pink.