Object of the Day

Ivory Brocade Dress, 1912

April 14, 2012 marks one-hundred years since the Titanic’s sinking.  The clothing and textiles collections at the Museum of TTU has this dress from the same era (1912), and of the same fashion that would have been seen on first class passengers aboard the Titanic.

This ivory brocade dress’ bodice is tucked on the left side of a pointed V-yoke, over which the right side is bound with black satin over a wide French re-embroidered lace.  The trim is repeated on the sleeves, and on the skirt front in a diagonal line from the right side to the lower left, extending around the hemline in the back.

Fashions from the 1910s started changing from the constricting and voluptuous styles of the Edwardian era, to the straight-lined, lighter silhouettes of the Art Deco era.  The flowing and soft look of this period was heavily inspired by the opulent fashion of the Orientalist aesthetic, brought by the Ballet Russes when they performed Scheherazade in Paris in 1910.  Paul Poirot was one of the first designers to make the transition from the corseted look of the Victorian age, into the more natural and draped designs of the modern era.  Many characterize this extravagant and rich fashion style with that of the tragic ocean liner, Titanic.  In more recent pop culture, the PBS mini-series Downton Abbey has popularized this era, as well as its opulent fashions, which begins with the news of the Titanic’s sinking.

1912-1914 Paul Poiret Evening Dress. Courtesy of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Courtesy of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

For more examples from the Museum of TTU textiles collection of this straight-lined, flowing style from the early 1910s era, go to our Current Exhibits page under the exhibit They Weren’t Always White to vote on your favorite Art Deco styled wedding dress!

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