Early Victorian Era Fashion Chit Chat - November 1857 Godey's Lady's Book
Chit Chat Upon New York and Philadelphia Fashions for November
As our fashion-plate would indicate, we have arrived at the season for carriage wraps, and even heavier winter mantles, which, if they are not worn, are chiefly purchased the present month.
The Basquine, introduced the past winter by Brodie and others, has gained ground, and will be a more general favorite the present season - especially those designed by Brodie, who has modified the rigor of their outline, to which many objected, by the addition of a berthe, heavily trimmed with fringe or grelots, and a greater sweep to the basque, which may be drawn close to the figure, if desired, by a simple and convenient arrangement. With all due respect to our Parisian designer, we must confess that, in this instance, we think Brodie has surpassed him in grace and elegance.
The Madrid, another mantle furnished by the same house, has the effect of a succession of capes, or slightly pointed talmas, increasing in depth and fulness to the jupe. The most desirable cloaks made in this style are of black cloth, trimmed with a contrast, as a fringe, plain or with grelots, of purple, green, etc., just sufficiently marked to be a relief, and a decided novelty from the plain black of the past two seasons. Our readers must not suppose that, in color, they are to be confined entirely to this sombre shade. By no means; as, in the most dashing of the basquines, Mr. Brodie has introduced a combination of fawn or mode-colored beaver cloth, with deep bands of plush, having the effect of fur, without its costliness, and has added coquettish little side pockets of the same, just tipped with a grelot. Mode colors in combination, so much the style in years past, are again coming up, fashion just putting forth a few tokens to that effect in cloaks, while it is decided in bonnets.
Of the velvet mantles, we prefer those depending chiefly upon the gracefulness of their shape (especially as adjusted to meet the demands of crinoline at the waist, though fitting quite close to the upper part of the figure), and the richness of the fringe with which they are ornamented. This fringe is in every conceivable variety and depth, mixed with bugles, grelots, chenille, etc., and with a heading equally rich and varied. Among Mr. Brodie's importations - for we do not hesitate to say that we prefer to depend chiefly upon his taste and skill, since it is better to confine ourself to one house in our descriptions, as we have before explained - we notice, for richness as well as simplicity, a velvet mantle, known as the Empress. It is very ample, falling far below the line of the waist, which is, however, plainly marked by a circular fall of the rich fringe to which we have alluded, ten or twelve inches in depth. Below, the velvet is quite plain to the outer circle of fringe, which finishes the garment. Above, a fine pattern of heavy embroidery adds to the costliness and elegance of the garment.
We shall speak of travelling-wraps, etc., in our next, but must now turn to the materials and styles for dresses.
The richest and most novel silks are known as robes d quille. To these, we have before alluded. The skirts are plain, with the exception of a breadth on each side of the centre, which has a rich pattern woven, as were the flounces a disposition, into the silk. There is a graduated width or slope, broad at the bottom, and narrow as it approaches the waist. Among the most elegant silks of this style, we notice those of rich brown, blue, mode, violet, or green grouns, the pattern being in raised velvet, as wreaths of leaves, roses without foliage, shamrocks, Greek or oriental scrolls, etc., all so much raised as to have the effect of being cut out and stamped, as for a garland, and laid on to the plain but effective ground. Others have the same ground, with a pattern in colors, the effect being that of rich embroidery. In cashmere, poplin, and other fall and winter fabrics, this same style is reproduced. There is, of course, a narrower border of the same design, for the flounces of the sleeves, basques, etc.
Robes a disposition, with the invariable three flounces, are by no means obsolete, many having been imported of great richness and beauty; and ladies of a tall or slender figure do well in still adhering to the graceful fashion. The same effect is produced by bordering a plain silk with a richly variegated ribbon.
Naturally enough, the fashion of the day follows the caprice of the manufacturer. Skirts, whether single or double, are trimmed at the side, as in one of our designs (see steel fashion-plate). Black is not unfrequently introduced, with a plain blue or green, while these shades are combined with mode colors. In double skirts, only the upper one is trimmed, as a general thing. The upper skirt should always have the greater fulness, so as not to confine that beneath it. A deep fringe, plain or mixed with grelots, bugles, etc., is added frequently to the upper skirt. Basques or jackets return with the heavier materials of autumn and winter; though, of course, in evening-dress, a poined or round bodice is still retained. They are worn extremely long. In many cases, the fringe is woven exactly for them, deep behind, sloping on the hip, and lighter in front. Black velvet and grelots are worn with nearly every material. Sleeves are made exceedingly wide at the bottom, whether trimmed with flounces, or in the Venetian form; that is, long and pointed. Two puffs, with a deep flounce, are the reigning style. Square sleeves, with one puff, and slit up on the forearm, have also been introduced. A pretty shape for a close sleeve is a short plai jockey, slit up, and a long puffing introduced from the top to the bottom, where they are terminated by a turned up cuff, also slit open, like the cuffs of a riding-glove or gauntlet.
So far, jacket bodies are closed to the throat, a becoming fashion, with the present small round collars.