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WORTH Venetian Ball Gown for Mrs. J.P. Morgan, Paris, ca. 1898

antique fancy dress WORTH 1898 1 antique fancy dress WORTH 1898

Heavy1-piece ivory moire silk faille elaborately embroidered in a polychrome silk and metallic gold satin stitch floral and gold tinsel, ca. 1898. Woven petersham: “Worth, Paris”. No: 48661. Label pencilled with: Morgan. Former property of this dress: Frances Louisa Tracy Morgan. Puffed elbow length sleeve with a ring of pearl beads over chiffon angel sleeves edged in metallic lace, pleated bodice, slightly trained skirt, all trimmed in gold galloon. Together with two square green silk fans with gilt bamboo handles, decorated with gold lace and floral applique with paste jewels, and a Worth fan box with pencilled "Fan for the fancy dress, Venetian". The dress is in good to very good antique condition with a few flaws: bodice lining torn at shoulders, some splits to silk, some metallic losses, bodice repaired at waist. Fans and box are in very good condition. Provenance: Metropolitan Museum of Art. The decoration is not included.
In 1865, just as the Civil War came to an end, J. Pierpont Morgan married again, this time to Frances Louisa Tracy (1845-1924), a woman from his New York social circle. The two proved incompatible in temperament and had widely different instincts and tastes. Morgan loved New York City, hard work, a hectic social life, adventurous travel, and sumptuous luxury in art, houses, interior decor, clothing, and yachts. Fanny preferred a quieter, more domestic life with her children and a few intimate friends (source: themorgan.org).
Charles Frederick Worth was the designer who dominated Parisian fashion in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The designer opened his own firm with a business partner in 1858. Worth’s designs are notable for his use of lavish fabrics and trimmings, his incorporation of elements of historic dress, and his attention to fit. While the designer still created one-of-a-kind pieces for his most important clients, he is especially known for preparing a variety of designs that were shown on live models at the House of Worth. Clients made their selections and had garments tailor-made in Worth’s workshop. Although Worth was not the first or only designer to organize his business in this way, his aggressive self-promotion earned him the titles “father of haute couture” and “the first couturier.” By the 1870s, Worth’s name frequently appeared in ordinary fashion magazines, spreading his fame to women beyond courtly circles. With his talent for design and promotion, Charles Frederick Worth built his design house into a huge business during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. His sons, Gaston-Lucien (1853–1924) and Jean-Philippe (1856–1926), took over their father’s business following his death in 1895 and succeeded in maintaining his high standards. Jean-Philippe’s designs in particular follow his father’s aesthetic, with his use of dramatic fabrics and lavish trimmings. The house flourished during the sons’ tenure and into the 1920s. The great fashion dynasty finally came to an end in 1952 when Charles Frederick Worth’s great-grandson, Jean-Charles (1881–1962), retired from the family business (source: Jessa Krick, The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art).

Bust: ~ 35"
Waist: ~ 26"
Front Length: ~ 62"
Back Length: ~ 66"
Fans: ~ 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 with 20 inch handle

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