London Fashions June 1903
The month of roses is upon us, and beside enjoying these in our gardens under their natural aspect, we revel in them under artificial conditions in our hats, while they also exercise an influence on our muslin dresses.
The flower toque would seem to be a perennial favorite. A pretty idea is to make the crown entirely of green leaves, with a single blossom at one side.
Another pretty flower hat is of pale blue tulle, lightly dotted with forget-me-nots, and at one side of this in the front is a flat rosette with the center formed of a pink rose, surrounded by closely set forget-me-nots bordered with a line of Parma violets.
Flat rosettes made in silk, satin or velvet are to be seen on many of the hats of chiffon, or straw, or tulle, but perhaps the most novel example of millinery is a tricorne of canary-colored chrysanthemum straw, bearing no trimming save a yellow bird at one side.
The plaid effects are much sought after on our hats, red, blue, green and yellow being used in combination. An example of what is known as the French sailor shape of hat, made in blue and green and white plaid, bound with blue velvet, has a crown of plain blue and trimming of red berries.
Very fresh and pretty is a hat of white tulle in the tiniest ruchings, bearing a large white bird with wings outspread upon the crown; such a hat as this looks very well with a white linen dress. Moreover, linen dresses are well to the fore.
They are mostly made of a soft, thick hopsack sort of linen and trimmed with insertions of beading, while the coats take the form of the blouse bodice with embroidered stole.
China blue cotton on a white foundation is the most popular selection for the embroidery, while the inner shirt will be of the very finest muslin, bearing innumerable small tucks and finished at the neck with an embroidered lawn collar and a necktie of pale blue and white check.
Colored linens are no less to be seen than white ones, and amongst these a light shade of blue, a pale tone of buff and a light grey are most in favor. Besides being trimmed with beadings, they are to be seen with incrustations of lace in medallion form, the medallions being dotted at intervals from neck to hem of the gown.
Belts are, of course, a great feature of the early Summer fashions, and the leather and the suede belt are most generally adopted; being unlined, if wide, they set in natural folds around the waist in a most becoming fashion and are buckled either with leather or with fanciful metal of the "Art Nouveau" type.
Foulards are popular, as I predicted they would be, and the very latest idea is to make them almost in tailor fashion, simple skirt and sac coat, trimmed with a deep shoulder collar of cloth.
And, by the way, with the absence of the revers from the coat has sprung into popularity the deep cape collar. Sometimes single, sometimes triple, it gives that width and importance to the shoulder which makes its outline balance well with the full gathered skirt.
Alpaca is another material worthy of attention, and the innovators now combine it with face cloth, a particularly good example being made in the palest blue with broad hems of face cloth covered with straps of taffetas fastened with silver buttons.
This, crowned with a black chip hat bearing a pale blue feather and a pale green feather and a scarf of black chiffon arranged to fall on the hair, was one of the dresses most admired at a recent race meeting.
Its wearer was accompanied by a matron displaying most successfully the charms of a sac coat of dark rifle green silk, with collar and big undersleeves of sapphire blue velvet.
Taffetas in all colors are popular for coats, and the most fascinating of evening coats are made of this in white with incrustations of lace and trimmings of chiffon.
Very smart for River Wear are little red cloth coats faced with white linen, designed for use with white linen or white serge skirts.
Amongst the pretty hats for country wear was one of rustic straw in the old-fashioned flexible shape, with a narrow band of white roses around the front, and a very large cache peigne of red and white fuchsias at the back.
Fuchsias are to be seen on several of the new toques, and I find that they look best in combination with roses.
For evening wear lace has for its most serious rival the tulle dress trimmed with fringes of flowers. Fringes of chenille grace gowns of light-colored chiffon, and on much of the cotton lace which decorates the linen and voile dresses may be seen pendant cotton fringes, which are distinctly new.
The round feather boa has quite yielded place to the flat stole, which is usually made in ostrich feathers and bears for its adornment silken fringes.
The sleeves show a tendency to recall the old leg o' mutton style and, no doubt, accompany the full gathered skirt with greater propriety than those of any less voluminous description.
The pleated skirt has blossomed out in a new form, being set in kilts straight from the waist at the back but bearing a small yoke in the front; this gives the desired straight effect.
The gathered skirt is ubiquitous, and now that we have become familiar with it would seem to be particularly becoming to the waist.
On the whole, the most conspicuous note of fashion for the early Summer is the embroidery in Oriental colors. The designs are perhaps from Turkey or Romania, but the colors used are distinctly Chinese, and blue cloth or serge or voile dresses look their best under the influence of such trimmings, blue seeming to provide the legitimate back-ground to Oriental colorings.
Dresses made entirely of silk have a slight vogue but have not quite reestablished themselves. Those of taffetas are the most successful, and there is a new variety, called "Invicta," which will amiably submit to the hand of time, to say nothing of the dressmaker's iron. It does not split, does not become greasy and wears well.
A favorite trimming for gowns of all types is the coarse yak lace appliqued on pane. The lace is usually dyed to match the material of which the dress is made, and the pane is of a contrasting color, usually of a darker tone.
Sashes and sash-like trimmings are features of many of the thin Summer gowns, and tasseled effects and trailing ends are employed wherever there is any excuse for them. Many of these are finished with pearl or metal ornaments, and even bunches of flowers are used for this purpose on dancing frocks.
"The Fashions of London" in The Delineator: An Illustrated Magazine ofLiterature and Fashion, Paris-London-New York-Toronto: The Butterick Publishing Co., Ltd., Vol. LXI, No. 6, June 1903, Page 958.
Note: We have edited this text to correct grammatical errors and improve word choice to clarify the article for today’s readers. Changes made are typically minor, and we often left passive text “as is.” Those who need to quote the article directly should verify any changes by reviewing the original material.