Dress thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Dress

1885 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This tailor-made bustle dress could have stepped off the pages of a fashion magazine. In 1885 bodices incorporating collars and lapels in the style of men’s jackets became a popular novelty. They were cut to wear open in front revealing an underbodice which resembled a man’s waistcoat. In this example the underbodice is attached to the outer jacket at the side seam. This was usual as it helped the bodice sit into the form of the body while retaining the appearance of a separate jacket and fancy waistcoat. Such outfits made elegant walking costumes, suitable for a visit to a fashionable shopping street or a promenade in the park.

By this date the bustle was at its height, projecting from the back of the dress while the front remained comparatively flat. The overskirts were caught up in a profusion of pleats, draperies and puffings to create interesting effects and emphasise the silhouette. This ensemble has steel hoops and tapes inserted into the back of the underskirt to pull it into the required shape over a bustle pad. Despite these contrivances, the hem would have just reached the top of the shoes making it more practical for walking than a trained skirt.
The hat is extravagantly decorated with a mounted bird specimen and other contrived feather decorations. When the mode for wearing feathers, furs, stuffed birds and small mammals was at its height, the colours from even the most exotic species found in nature were not enough to meet the demands and whims of fashionable society.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Bodice
  • Skirt
Materials and techniques
Wool and silk, metal fastenings
Brief description
Bodice and skirt of wool and silk, made by Madame Tridou, Paris, 1885
Physical description
Bodice and skirt of wool and silk. The bodice is constructed with an opening in front to reveal an underbodice to resemble a man's waistcoat. The underbodice is attached to the outer jacket at the side seam. Brown bustle-style skirt with a draped overskirt.
Dimensions
  • Width: 390mm
  • Depth: 255mm
  • At neck, approx. circumference: 38.0cm
  • Depth: 260mm
Marks and inscriptions
'Madame Tridou, Robes & Confections, 78 Rue de Rome, PARIS' (Deep blue/green text printed onto tape at waistband of skirt.)
Credit line
Purchase.
Object history
Worn with hat T.715:3-1997. The ensemble is believed to have been made for the trousseau of a French Duchess who married and emigrated to the US. She died shortly afterwards, hence the lack of wear to the pieces.



The objects were purchased from Christie's in 1997at £2239.63 for the entire ensemble.
Summary
This tailor-made bustle dress could have stepped off the pages of a fashion magazine. In 1885 bodices incorporating collars and lapels in the style of men’s jackets became a popular novelty. They were cut to wear open in front revealing an underbodice which resembled a man’s waistcoat. In this example the underbodice is attached to the outer jacket at the side seam. This was usual as it helped the bodice sit into the form of the body while retaining the appearance of a separate jacket and fancy waistcoat. Such outfits made elegant walking costumes, suitable for a visit to a fashionable shopping street or a promenade in the park.



By this date the bustle was at its height, projecting from the back of the dress while the front remained comparatively flat. The overskirts were caught up in a profusion of pleats, draperies and puffings to create interesting effects and emphasise the silhouette. This ensemble has steel hoops and tapes inserted into the back of the underskirt to pull it into the required shape over a bustle pad. Despite these contrivances, the hem would have just reached the top of the shoes making it more practical for walking than a trained skirt.

The hat is extravagantly decorated with a mounted bird specimen and other contrived feather decorations. When the mode for wearing feathers, furs, stuffed birds and small mammals was at its height, the colours from even the most exotic species found in nature were not enough to meet the demands and whims of fashionable society.
Bibliographic references
  • Johnston, Lucy, Marion Kite, Helen Persson, Richard Davis, and Leonie Davis. Nineteenth-century fashion in detail. No. Sirsi) i9781851774401. V & A Publications, 2005.
  • Isaac, Veronica. 2018. "Walking in Flora and Fauna: A Nineteenth-Century Dress and Hat." In Fashioned from Nature, edited by Edwina Ehrman, 94-99. London: V & A Publications.
Collection
Accession number
T.715:1, 2-1997

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

Record createdOctober 18, 2005
Record URL
Download as: JSONIIIF Manifest