Belle Epoch Ribbon and Lace Duster

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This is an incredibly beautiful peignoir from the turn of the 20th century, dating to c. 1900-1905. Made entirely of stripes and chevrons of lilac silk satin ribbon, the garment is held together by insets of delicate cream lace. The ties which hold it together at the front neck are matching satin, and further lace ruffles trim every edge: hem, fronts, wrists, shawl collar, and even vertically up the arms. This machine lace was a fairly recent development at the beginning of the century, and was valued for its even patterns and symmetry. Insets and borders of lace were extremely popular, and finding them in chevron shapes - as seen here - was very fashionable during the first few years of the century. Likewise, the ruffled shawl collar was seen frequently on dressing gowns as well as jackets in this period, and the wide, romantic-revival sleeves were ubiquitous. Peignoirs from the turn of the century frequently have a gathered panel flaring out just below the knees, as this one does, in order to mimic the "umbrella" shape of fashionable skirts. While many peignoirs of the period share similar elements to this one, few are quite so beautiful. The silk satin is still supple and smooth after more than a century, and reflects light like the surface of rippled water. The lace is intricate and fine, and the chevron pattern which combines the two materials shows the high degree of workmanship and effort which went into making this garment. The sleeves, which are slit up the arm, edged with lace, and held back together with silk taffeta ties, are desperately romantic and sweet, yet their length keeps them from becoming a nuisance. Finally, the silk material, more than being an aesthetic choice, is a practical one: the natural insulating qualities of silk allows this dressing gown to look and feel delicate and airy, yet keep its wearer warmly wrapped up in all seasons. The Edwardian period was called the "Belle Epoque" or the "Gilded Age" for good reason, and garment design was never before more complex and delicate, nor has it ever been since. Delicate lace and feminine details are balanced by the clean geometric lines of the ribbon, luxurious materials are chosen with practicality and comfort in mind, and the play of smooth satin and textured lace in candlelight or firelight is like nothing else. This is truly an incredible garment from a turning point in history, with all the romantic beauty of the 19th century and all the innovative creativity of the 20th. A stunning piece for any collection.
Late 19th Century
Excellent. Very strong and wearable for the age. Several small spots please see photos..
Wear consistent with age and use
60 in. L
152 cm L
Marked Size
M,L (US)
42 in. (107 cm)
52 in. (132 cm)
60 in. (152 cm)
Dealer Location
New York, NY
Number of Items
Reference Number
About The Seller
260 West 36th Street
Suite 201
New York NY 10018
(646) 846-8372
1stdibs Dealer since 2015 Located in New York, NY