1879 Wedding Fashions

1879 Bridal Gown

      "Satin, the traditional fabric for wedding dresses, is also the fashionable choice this season. Both plain and brocaded satins are used; the latter are in large leaf or flower patterns, or else in small polka dots. In some rich dresses, the entire dress is of plain satin, while in others, brocaded satin is used for the corsage [bodice] and train, with plain satin for the front and sides of the skirt.

      "Modistes say that the wedding dress has a distinctive style peculiar to it, somewhat severe and entirely different from that of any other dress. The train is made longer, wider and more sever in shape, flowing quite plain from the waist and is untrimmed. The pannier effect if given at all , is very slight and is made by a scarf passed around the hips and held by orange blossoms.

      "The garniture is displayed elaborately on the front and side gores of the skirt. The corsage is a basque cut high in the back, with low square or V-shaped neck and transparent sleeves of lace or of pearl trimming; these may reach to the elbow or to the wrist, as the arms require. Pearl beads in passementerie and fringe are much used for trimming white satin dresses. A pyramid of the fringe is on the front of the skirt, the neck and edges of the basque are finished with it, perhaps there are panels of pearls on the side gores, and the sleeves are made to look like a network of pearls, as they are made of lengthwise strips of the passementerie. Pearl-embroidered fronts of the skirt and an embroidered vest for the basque are imported ready for use. The beads are iridescent pearls, showing opal tints and are strung on threads and wrought in loops and branches in the needle-work. Handsome laces are always in fashion, but are especially desirable now, for arranging in rows across the front and sides of the satin dress, or else in jabots and panels on the sides. Wide lace flounces at the foot are festooned at intervals with small bouquets and satin ribbon loops. When lace is used on the train, it is not as flounces, but in lengthwise designs. In one instance lately, a wide duchesse flounce, with the straight edges sewn together, formed a beautiful pannier scarf that was passed around the hips and held in the back and front by cluster of flowers. Sometimes lace is used for the transparent sleeves, instead of the pearl trimming. Flowers are not as lavishly used as they were formerly. Small bouquets set at intervals down the front amid rows of lace, or else clusters for the back and front of the panniers, are favourite styles of garniture. Some sets of orange blossoms outline the pannier on the hips, others form a curve around a tablier and still others are massed as panels on the side. A fancy with Worth is that of arranging orange buds in a pyramid of lace or else satin pleatings in the front of the skirt. White lilac, jasmine or clematis are mixed with orange blossoms.

      "The bridal veil is of tulle and is now draped on the side and back of the hair, instead of being thrown over the face in the French fashion. The edges are not hemmed, and a cluster of flowers holds the veil instead of a wreath.

      Bridesmaidís Dresses

      "Simple fabrics are chosen for bridesmaidsí dresses to be worn at June weddings. The fancy is to make these of soft, light, summery materials, such as India muslin, or else of the soft twilled foulard silk known as Surrah silk, and the lace garniture is either Breton or Valenciennes. These dresses are made up more youthfully than the wedding dress, and carry out the prevailing style, with its bouffant panniers and shirred basques and aprons.

      "Imported Surrah dresses for the bridesmaids at a recent wedding had the short turned-back fronts of the overdress formed of diagonal rows of Breton insertion and Surrah silk, while the back was bunched up voluminously and held by a large cluster of loops of satin ribbon. In this instance the wedding was conducted in the English fashion, and the bridesmaids wore Gainsborough hats of white silk, with Prince of Wales red satin in shirring and piping. Instead of bonnets, however, short veils of tulle arranged on the back of the head in Spanish style are now generally worn by bridesmaids.

      "To use some deep colour for garniture is a fancy for bridesmaids; thus at a Grace Church wedding lately, the four bridesmaids wore clusters of deep red currants and green leaves for garniture. When there are six or eight bridesmaids, it is customary to have two with rose trimmings, two with pale blue, two with green and the others may have dark red or Marshal Neil yellow. Worth uses what he calls opal tints in sashes and trimmings on bridesmaidsí dresses. For instance he uses white grenadine with brocaded satin stripes in it for the basque and train, while the front and sides of plain square-meshed grenadine have a pannier scarf or sash of green brocaded ribbon shot with pink and white, like opal, draped across the front and about the hips. To continue the opal effect, pale green silk knife-pleatings are placed under white grenadine pleatings to trim the sides and end of the train."

Two 1879 Bridal Gowns and Bridesmaid's Dress

Harperís Bazaar, 1879

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