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Ball Gown (Bodice and Skirt)

circa 1857-1867

(, - present)

This exquisite ball gown was worn by Harriet Lane, niece of President James Buchanan, while she served as First Lady during her bachelor uncle's term of office (1857-1861). Harriet was renowned as an American beauty and fashion trend-setter. Much of her wardrobe, often purchased in Europe, reflected not only the latest mode but also her position and standing within Washington society and beyond. The silk damask of this gown is patterned in the style of an elaborate 18th century fabric while the voluminous skirt reflects the fashionable crinoline silhouette of the mid-19th century.

silk brocade faille, lace

Museum Purchase: Auxiliary Costume Fund 2003.126.5A-B

Currently on view at Mint Museum RANDOLPH