Paris Gossip and Fashion Notes in Godey’s Lady’s Book (November 1890)

The latest Parisian craze is the stare! A crazier-looking picture it would be hard to find; but the stare is, nevertheless, the fashion. In order to “do it” you must assume a look of utter abstraction and appear to be gazing at something all unseen by your friends and well-wishers; but which, in its contemplation, causes you to open your eyes very wide, and to persevere in doing this strange and uncalled-for thing. What you see apparently appalls you. And yet, the prettiest women are staring persistently in this insane way. What will not fashion’s votaries do?

Fashions are growing more eccentric daily; the more extreme they are, the more popular they become. Lace is regaining much of its past favor, although always popular, it has not been so universally used for the last few years; but now all kinds are in great demand. Black lace flounces have been in oblivion for some time; but the happy possessors can bring them forth, as they are growing in favor for trimming silks and velvets, and Worth has the daring to festoon them on the light cloth gowns now worn in the evening, while some of the famous Paris milliners are trimming felt hats with black lace. There are jetted net flounces that must be scantily gathered to show their beauty, and others lightly wrought with gold, steel or silver, or with tinsels of many colors. Raised figures of gold or of steel are most effective on black laces, others are jeweled in Russian fashion, and some of the prettiest are studded with turquoises amid gold, or pink coral with silver. The three-inch trimming laces with turquoises or corals have also pretty insertions of similar designs.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.

The trimmings this season are triumphs in the art of embroidery; they are wonderful, and very difficult to describe. On satin, velvet, or cloth grounds flowers or motifs are worked in relief, varied with fine chenille and mixed with cabochons. The cabochons are colored imitation of precious stones uncut (like carbuncles), and they are mounted in a steel setting, instead of being sewn on by means of holes inside, as formerly. This steel setting is a novelty and increases their durability and value. The flowers are surrounded with a pattern formed with a dull gold braid called canaille, laid on flat, and sometimes gold bullion is mixed with the flowers. The style of work is generally called chenille and cabochon embroidery and will be the favorite fashion for rich dresses. There is also another trimming used for silk and cloth dresses, and that is gold galloon embroidered with colored silks and chenille in raised work. These embroideries are made on panels, tables, or bands; the sleeves are sometimes entirely covered with it, and it is applied to trimmings for bodices en cœur, collars, cuffs, etc. The galloons are put at spaced distances round the skirts, and in a hundred fanciful ways on the bodices and sleeves.

Evening gowns are most of them devoid of drapery. A charming one, made by a celebrated modiste, was a rich black brocaded skirt, falling over a triple pinked-out flounce of white and black; it opened up the front to show a narrow panel of closely-gathered white crêpe de Chine; the low bodice of the same crossed in front, forming a double point at the waist. These points were covered with handsome cut jet guipure, carried in a narrow band all around to the back, having jet balls falling therefrom. At the neck there were two revers turning downward made of jet, black jetted bows giving height to the short sleeves. Crêpe de Chine and other soft falling stuffs are used with great effect, both the plain brocaded and fancy kinds. A white Bengaline draped with the crepe, having a two-inch wide basket stripe, was most effective, and a cashmere of a heliotrope tone, having spots of gray velvet appliquéd on to the drapery, bordered with gray velvet. Among some of the unmade gowns, I must tell you of a plain brown cloth, with appliqué embroidery in two or three shades of lighter brown velvet, the design Indian corn; and a Reseda cloth with an appliqué of black Astrakhan leaves. Embroidered materials are now in great vogue.

A fraise, or ruff, of tulle worn high around the neck is the caprice of the moment with Parisiennes, who wear it with low-necked evening dresses, as well as with high corsages of day dresses. It is a thickly plaited ruche of tulle—black, white, or colored, with dots of chenille upon it—made merely long enough to encircle the neck, and is tied behind by a ribbon bow, with long ends reaching almost to the foot of the dress.

In make, skirts continue to be quite plain, though French ladies are crying loudly for the return of some kind of tournure. (A Frenchwoman without a tournure is not a happy woman.)

Large Empire ruches of black lace, or fringed out silk, are seen on plain black silk skirts; as many as three of these ruchings are placed one over the other. These ruches take off much of the straight look of plain skirts, and, to a certain extent, this satisfies the ladies—at least, some of them. Old or soiled light silk skirts may be dyed black to serve for these ruchings, for, when fringed out, the quality of the silk is little seen, if seen at all.



All images included in blog posts are from either Accessible Archives collections or out of copyright public sources unless otherwise noted. Common sources include the Library of Congress, The Flickr Commons, Wikimedia Commons, and other public archives.

Related Posts

Tags: , ,

Stay Connected

Connect with Accessible Archives on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin to stay up to date on news and blog posts or get our latest blog posts by email.

Positive SSL