Stunning Parisian Evening Gowns - October 1912

"The Witchery of a Parisian Night" Sidelights on gorgeous new gowns by this noted modiste. Illustrations from photographs with Sidelights on Gorgeous New Gowns in the Restaurants and Ballrooms. By Lady Duff-Gordon ("Lucile")

New Coat and Skirt Suit Designed by Lucile

New Coat and Skirt Suit Designed by Lucile of a Rich Green Faille with the Tunic of the Skirt Draped at the Side, and the Coat Following the Same Line, Both Being Caught up With a Beautiful Belt of Dull Silver Brocade Silver Buckle. The Coat Has a Collar of Heavy Silk Embroidery and a Long Tassel of Silk and Silver at the Side. A Row of Small Buttons of the Material Trim the Coat. Good Housekeeping Magazine, October 1912. GGA Image ID # 164e861be2

Dear Mr. Editor:

It is evening in Paris-every kind of costume and color is seen, from the simplest lingerie frock, worn by a little English girl with her parents, in Paris probably for the first time in her young life, to the gowns of the most gorgeous description; these latter barely hid by mantles or large enveloping scarfs, so that the glittering embroidery of tubes or diamonds peep out from underneath in a most alluring manner.

Many of the women probably are going to some ball or private concert, for their dresses are so truly magnificent. They wear large hats, or tiny turbans with huge aigrettes, to be taken off when the entertainment is reached, and probably to be put on again later when they are tired out with the round of balls. These same ladies, with a merry party still bent on profiting by the superb weather, may find their way at 6 A.M. to the Pré Catalan to drink glasses of warm milk straight from the cow.

There is another class of diners who are not going to a ball, but who come out to the Bois, and after dinner go from restaurant to restaurant, listening to the subtle tzigane music. The dresses of these women are of the most fantastic description, and the styles and materials are so varied that it would be quite beyond me to describe all of them.

However, I will tell you of two which stand out very distinctly, even in this crowd of bewildering shapes and forms.  One is a dress of sapphire blue chiffon of every shade of blue that goes to make sapphire. The wearer, a slim girl of milk and roses complexion and amber hair, seems to have taken yards of these different shades of blue chiffon and draped them around herself. Sapphire and diamond clasps seem to be the only reason for the dress—or, I should say, rather, the drapery. The foundation must be of flesh pink, as the whole impression is that the sapphire chiffon is her only covering.

It is astonishingly effective. She has on a large hat of silver tissue, edged with a slightly gathered black tulle frill that veils her eyes, which seem unnaturally large and black. (By the way, I may as well tell you here that this is the effect which these black tulle folds at the edge of a hat produce on eyes of any size.)  Just sitting on the brim of her hat, over her right eye, without apparent rhyme or reason, is a giant scarlet strawberry with a diamond leaf. Around her shoulders is a wisp of black tulle, edged with chinchilla, and she is nursing a huge black tulle muff, also edged with chinchilla.

With her is a dark, bright-eyed girl, almost as remarkably arrayed, though in quite a different manner. She has on the still favorite pannier gown. The bodice and pannier are of shimmering, rose-colored taffeta, held up by a band of dark fur over a skirt of flimsy lace embroidered with tiny pink roses and silver tubes. Her hat is of the Bergere type, of lemon-colored straw with a wreath around it of tiny pink roses, and at the back a bow and floating ends of Saxe blue ribbon. She has adopted Fashion’s very latest momentary madness and has powdered her hair white, which accords precisely with the style of her dress.

Black Satin Evening Gown by Lucile.

Black Satin Evening Gown by Lucile. The Black Satin Skirt Is Gracefully Draped at One Side, and the Pointed Train Is Finished with a Long Black Silk Tassel. A Silver Tissue Lace Is Used for the Bodice, the Drapings of Which Are Caught in the Front with Orange Colored Tissue Ribbon. (No Patterns Are Sold for This Model). Good Housekeeping Magazine, October 1912. GGA Image ID # 164eeaa5b2

These two girls, with their attendant cavaliers in the usual impeccable black, make a picture of arresting beauty, out there in the garden of the restaurant, with the lights shining on them and the background of blue-black night. There is just a gleam of moonlight here and there, which only enhances the idea of dark, infinite space beyond and adds to the enchantment of the scene and the girls. It is quite the most becoming frame for any woman, be she young or old, and makes even plain women appear attractive.

Afternoon Frock of Bottle Green Charmeuse From Lucile.

Afternoon Frock of Bottle Green Charmeuse From Lucile. The Skirt Is Slightly Caught up Near the Bottom. the Bodice Is Draped in a Low V, Displaying a Vest of Lace, and a Garland of Silk Flowers Nestles Against the Turned-Back Revers. The Sash of the Material Is Knotted at One Side With Long Fringe on the End. (No Patterns Are Sold for This Model). Good Housekeeping Magazine, October 1912. GGA Image ID # 164f189794

Among all these charmers it is very difficult to pick out the young, unmarried girls, for all the women dress so much alike now. Surely the fairy creature with the stately lady all in deep gray, over there in the most secluded corner, and with, I should say, her two brothers, must be a very young girl, her frock is so simple and suitable to her age.

It is of white embroidered tulle, with a straight plain skirt scalloped out over her feet and edged with palest blue satin. There are little, quaint ornaments of the blue satin down the front, and a little-gathered baby bodice and a huge blue sash tied under the left arm. She has a beautiful little coat of pale satin and a wee, wee light lace cap, tied under her chin with blue ribbon, and a little bunch of roses at the side over her ear.

Stunning Evening Gowns From Lucile.

Stunning Evening Gowns From Lucile. Good Housekeeping Magazine, October 1912. GGA Image ID # 164f22b1f3

  • On the left, standing, the dress is an emerald green with draped chiffon. The embroidery around the corsage is emeralds caught with a large cabuchon buckle.
  • Standing beside her is a girl wearing a gown of two shades of smoke-colored chiffon over flesh pink foundation. A wide band encircling the waist is gorgeously embroidered in green, gold and purple and studded with sapphires.
  • Across her right shoulder is a wreath of flowers in different shades of blue, scarlet and white. Seated below her is a young girl gowned in a pale blue and while chiffon embroidered with tiny diamonds, diamond flowers and silver leaves. The waistband and corsage is trimmed with small diamonds and colored beads which is draped over a transparent underdress of very pale pink, embroidered with small rose and silver tubes.
  • Sitting beside her is another girl who has adopted the taffeta panier costume in a dark blue and mauve taffeta, faded orange flowers with green leaves distinguishing the pattern. Its lining of blue, vert de gris, turns over the feet. There is an indigo blue and gold embroidered high waist band. The top of the bodice is of indigo blue, embroidered with gold thread and tiny bluish-green sequins.
  • The girl on the arm of the sofa is wearing a yellow chiffon frock, embroidered all over with tiny pink rosebuds on a trellis of silver tubes. It is draped over a flesh pink underskirt, and there are several shades of very pale pink and green around the waist, with a corsage drapery of pale lemon chiffon.
  • (No patterns are sold for these models)

She is adorable and seems to be having the time of her life.  In the ballroom, the dancers still wear short skirts, and if a train is worn, it is generally quite a separate affair, so that it can be easily held up. All of the dresses are made of the flimsiest, coolest materials, and the lightest colors, with a great deal of glittering and silver tube embroidery. When all the wearers go home, tired out with dancing and happiness (I hope), they will find laid out for them the daintiest of nightwear, and a boudoir wrap of soft gauze, encrusted with lace, in which to rest for a few minutes as they sip the cold soup that has been left for them by a thoughtful maid.

Lady Duff-Gordon ("Lucile") "Her Wardrobe: A Monthly Department of Fashions and Patterns -- The Witchery of a Parisian Night: With sidelights on Gorgeous New Gowns in the Restaurants and Ballrooms," in Good Housekeeping Magazine, October 1912 Annual Achievement Number, pp. 521-523.

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