London Fashions for November 1903
Only last month I declared that blue was the first favorite of Fashion, and now I find Fashion, fickle as she is supposed to be, inclines rather toward brown.
No doubt, brown looks beautiful in combination with sable, and though I am not at the moment contemplating sable for immediate wear, still we are more economical in the Winter than we are in the Summer, and a costume which does duty in November may often make its successful appearance in January.
But, after all, why should we not have a brown dress as well as a blue, and a black one as well as both? It is not the dresses which are the real question of expense; it is the coats.
The long, loose variety is eminently attractive with embroidery of fur, while the marabout feather stole has been allowed to do its duty between seasons.
By the way, remarkably effective toques are entirely made of marabout feathers with a chou of colored velvet at one side; these are not only effective but inexpensive, and since it is not a usual combination it should be chronicled to their credit.
Velveteen, which in its earliest days was supposed to simulate velvet, now in the eyes of many exceeds it in charm, being more amenable to folds, less stiff, and generally making a more graceful appearance. I confess to a complete admiration for velveteen and would see much of it during the Autumn and Winter.
Take, for example, a mouse-colored velveteen in combination with sable for a walking costume; choose one of heliotrope for your tea gown and you will arrive at excellent results, in combination with a lining of the palest pink and some soft frills of string colored lace.
Then, again, for your child's Autumn coat I would recommend a golden-brown velveteen, while a rich shade of sapphire blue would do duty with a lace yoke for her afternoon frock.
Velveteen, too, in a biscuit tone may be cordially commended; in combination with fine black lace and ivory lisse I have seen it making a most effective dinner dress, the black lace being in medallion form. Jet may be called upon to trim a velveteen evening tea gown of a dull rose pink.
For the theatre cloak I would perhaps be tempted to banish velveteen and exalt face cloth in its stead. A pale shade of rose pink in combination with chinchilla, held with silken tassels of pink, and having a lining of ivory white satin, haunts my memory as particularly delightful.
A pretty theatre cloak for a young girl may be made of cream colored frieze strapped with white cloth, with a deep collar of cloth edged with Irish lace.
Chinese embroideries, the kimonos and the mandarin's coats are still popular for evening wear, and a very effective example may be quoted of a white silk kimono which bore an embroidery of white pink-billed storks all over it, with a characteristic turnover collar and square, flat sleeves bearing numerous kilted frills of pleated chiffon, while the lining was formed of pale pink Japanese silk.
The long shoulder seam of our Summer delight has resulted naturally in the revival of the pelisse in the full skirled cloak; the shoulder cape and sleeves belling above the wrist are prominent features in modes of the moment.
Very becoming indeed may the redingote be made, if the length of the deep collar be carefully regulated to suit the individual figure, and it may be well made in velveteen— I uphold this, persistently you will observe—or in fine face doth.
Narrow rows of fur trimming form the best decoration, and a lace cravat and a voluminous lace frill at the wrist give the most picturesque completion. With such a garment a high crowned velvet hat with plumes should he worn.
The taffetas silk evening dress has decidedly "caught on," as the phrase goes, the silk which is most sought after bearing blurred blossoms upon its surface. The quality of this should be good, and the fashioning of the simplest.
The gathered skirt is indispensable to success, and a lace under-petticoat and vest must be considered. I have seen a dress of taffetas silk of the palest lavender ground with flowers upon it of red and violet and pink, with a perfectly tight bodice coming into a long point in the front, revealing a waistcoat of lace threaded with black velvet ribbons, while round the shoulders was a fichu of net edged with two frills of lace headed by a narrow insertion threaded with the black velvet ribbon: the tight sleeves bore at the elbow full trills of lace.
Somehow, the costume had no suggestion of fancy dress, although it was copied from a gown of long ago.
The décolletage was square, and the throat of the wearer was encircled with a black velvet band held by a Parisian diamond clasp, the design faithfully copied from an old jewel; while the coiffure, which was parted in the middle, was encircled with a band of black velvet with a rosette at one side.
The dress was worn by a matron who was wise in the selection of a white silk petticoat, black silk stockings and black shoes.
It would seem that the flounced and frilled skirt is to appear again in the ballroom, a fashion all very well in its way while its wearer stands up; it is fatal, however, to the charms of the frilled skirt to sit upon it without special care.
A flounced skirt of spotted net edged with Valenciennes lace, completed with a bébé bodice, with a corselet belt offered silk, looks very well on a slim figure, and it is a style which may be easily copied by the amateur dressmaker, to whom I would again commend the extreme convenience of the ready-made sun-ray pleated skin.
This latter in white spotted net with the hem garlanded with a fringe of white roses and buds, a slightly gathered bodice with a round décolletage and sleeves trimmed to match, and a waistband of while silk fastened at the back with two white bows and hearing long ends heavily fringed, make an ideal dress for a debutante.
Aria, Eliza Davis (Mrs. Aria), "The Fashions of London" in The Delineator: An Illustrated Magazine of Literature and Fashion, Paris-London-New York-Toronto: The Butterick Publishing Co., Ltd., Vol. LXII, No. 5, November 1903, Page 684.