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Evening/Ball Gown

circa 1894-1895

Stern Brothers (, - present)

During the 1890s, the opulence of the era known as The Gilded Age and La Belle Époque was evident particularly in the excess of ornamentation and utilization of extremely fine and expensive fabrics in the creation of evening gowns. This couture example from Stern Brothers of New York City, presents not only an abundance of ornamentation but a definite element of glamorous sparkle with hand beading that would have glittered with each movement in response to candlelight, gaslight or the electric light bulb (Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb in 1879).

As the nineteenth century drew to a close, women were still tightly corseted with the fashionable silhouette of the 1890s being that of the classic hour-glass figure as seen in this gown. This silhouette was often associated with illustrator Charles Dana Gibson’s creation of the “Gibson Girl” who’s idealized image of the perfect woman pervaded cultures around the world. With long hair piled full atop her head and an incredibly tiny waistline, the Gibson Girl was self-confident yet demure, aloof yet not haughty, totally sophisticated and yet very approachable.

Place object was created: New York, NY

silk velvet, satin, silk faille, silk satin, faux pearl, glass seed beads, crystal rhinestone

Anonymous Donation in honor of Sandy Pettyjohn and Barbara Perry 2006.23A-B

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