House of Worth
Dress (day bodice, evening bodice and skirt)
House of Worth, French, Dress (day bodice, evening bodice and skirt), ca. 1874, silk; cotton; 200.7 cm (79 inches) (center back length), Gift of the Goddard family 2005.89.12
The House of Worth gained its reputation as arbiter of taste in the nineteenth century after designer Charles Frederick Worth’s gowns found favor with Austria’s Princess Pauline von Metternich and later with France’s Empress Eugénie. Worth’s experience as a textile salesmen in England and France gave him a thorough understanding of the effect of his fabric choice on the cut and drape of a finished garment. As seen in the Museum’s dress, the vogue at this time was for complex creations combining ribbons, draperies, pleated bands, and fringes. Worth combines these elements masterfully into an elegant autumnal ensemble of coordinating day (shown) and evening bodices and skirt.