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Date of your Antique Dress ARTICLE 1 Edwardian Couture by Lisa Schnapp on 02-26-2009

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Dress Detective Lisa from Bustledress.com:

Edwardian vintage clothingFluid, drape able, lightweight "candlelight" colored charmeuse silk satin was a popular mid-late Edwardian dress weight fabric, but the fringed trims and rose-cut paste rhinestones stayed popular until the 20's.

The decadence of the sparkling metallic lace sleeves, rhinestone buttons (possibly added later), Rochelle tube trims and beaded ribbonwork leads me to believe this gown was to show off the lady's affluence, whereas a wedding gown would have more simplicity and restraint in the trimmings, like glorious lace and little to no rhinestones. Underarm guards were usually added to protect the finest gowns. This pair appears to be handmade made just for this gown and not by Kleinhart's or other underarm guard manufacturer. Edwardian vintage clothesThe addition of the underneath foundation skirt creates a fuller, structured, but also flowing ample lower skirt sweep of the 1905-1906 gowns.

Princess gowns became singular, one-piece gowns later in the decade as skirts began to thin and straightened in shape (like a tube). As the decade progressed toward 1910, the center seam in the front skirt began to be seen in gowns starting around c.1905-1912. Skirt linings became less full by 1906, until they were often no longer in use. The fancy silk chiffon pin-tucked flounces are also c.1905. Tiny pintucks virtually nearly disappeared on skirts after this year, as skirts became ever plainer.Edwardian vintage clothesThe silk dust ruffle also disappeared after 1906 on most gowns in the years following, except for the finest of couturier gowns.

Due to the low neckline and flowing Watteau train, we know that it is a formal gown that was worn in the evening. The sheer, French metallic lace, tucked and be-ribboned tissue silk-lined sleeves tell us that the owner required a bit of modesty, likely worn by a young married woman. Epaulets began to be popular around 1905-1906, but this sleeve treatment started to be seen in abundance around c.1906 to about 1910, as did the styling of the straight across, wide belting, which began in earnest around 1905 and continued to stay and change (it drifted upward, then widened) until about 1919.Edwardian vintage clothes

This beautiful gown is truly a gem. It has many fine details the best gowns possesses. Since we know that the insides are fragile (and have repairs) this lovely gown seems like a "display only" gown, so the "fragility" factor does somewhat lower the overall value. But, better to shore up what weakness you can than to allow it to tear further I say! I'm glad you removed the underarm guards too as they are not helping anymore but could be causing further "mechanical" damage. I would keep them with the gown however. I saw that it is missing one rhinestone button, and I may have seen a small amount spotting? I didn't notice any, but if there is any splitting on the outer layers, that would lower the value quite a bit as that would mean that the fabric is weak. It's my opinion that it is worth about $795. retail as a display piece as she sits. This is assuming that the inner bodice issue and the button is missing are the only real concern factors.

If the gown has other condition issues not noted here, it does lower the value more. If you were to sell it, say in a wholesale auction venue, the gown would also likely not go higher this but could possibly go for lower, due to condition (unless the right collector(s) came along who just fell in love.). Many collectors want to be able to wear their treasures so wearable-ness is a very important trait. This is an informal informational dating and approximate value guideline, and is not be used for insurance purposes or similar.


Lisa, Thank you so much for your informal appraisal. The historical information was just what I needed. I would be happy if you could make use of the photos for fashion reference. I just wish they were of better quality. Take care, Grace
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