Imágenes de página

arranged all round the edges of the plastron, if a very frou-frou effect is wished. The lace may be plain, gathered, or plaited, according to taste and the quality of the lace.

Loops of ribbon, flowers hanging from under the rows of lace, or loops of beads in the same way, have a very charming effect. The lace being first arranged on the shaped foundation, is easily moved from one dress to another, and many a dress, of which the front is un peu fané, may be made to look quite new by this means.

Cream and lisse-coloured laces will be extreinely fashionable for dark as well as light dresses. A very simple material may be made to look dressy at once by the addition of a fraise (ruff), or a falling lace round the throat, a jabot of the same to the waist, or ending in a point below it, and a frill of lace falling over the hand, and continued partly up the outer seam of the sleeve.

We are to be covered with flowers as well as lace this season. Garlands of flowers are used to edge ball-dress skirts, round the trains and carried up the sides, as headings to flounces, and fringes to scarves.

I must not omit to mention that the effect of the double flounce of lace I have described is greatly improved by a trail of flowers along the centre, hiding the joins of the laces.

Waistcoats and plastrons, with net foundations entirely covered with flowers, are among the most charming elegancies of the season for dinner and other evening dresses; and the châtelaine bags of flowers sewn on net, lined with silk or satin, and suspended by two long trails of flowers and leaves, are most elegant ornaments for ball dresses.

Epaulettes of flowers for low bodices are very light-looking and becoming to the arm and shoulder; the flowers are sewn on a mere strap of the dress material, a few leaves and small blossoms falling over the arm.

Not only for evening dress will this luxe de fleurs be visible. Floral bonnets, and muffs to match, are very fashionable, the former being small, and of the shape known as the “ Princesse,” the foundation being entirely hidden by the flowers. The muffs are of net, lined with silk or satin, surrounded with full lace, the fond covered with flowers only, or blossoms nestling in lace.

Now that muffs are no longer supposed to be articles whose raison d'être is to keep the hands warm, but have gradually developed into ornaments, there is every probability of their

[ocr errors]

lasting, at all events through the spring. Besides those of lace and flowers, the hand-painted muffs are very elegant. These are trimmed round with a thick ruche of lace. A slit is made

. at the top of the muff, and serves for a pocket for the card-case or handkerchief. A three-cornered piece of satin is sewn above the opening, and fastens down over it with a handsome button. This flap is edged with a frill of lace, above which is a spray or trail of hand-painted flowers.

The parasol should, of course, be painted to match; and from the number of ladies I know who are thus ornamenting their parasols, muffs, and hand-bags, I can safely say this very artistic decoration will be one of the leading styles among the “best people.

In the previous paper (February), when writing on the furore in London and Paris for articles of dress painted by hand, I mentioned the recent invention of a preparation for keeping the colours from rubbing off the material-the otherwise inevitable drawback to this delightful work. Its use also makes the painting perfectly easy to anyone who understands ordinary water-colour painting. I have already had forwarded to me so many letters of inquiry as to where this medium could be obtained, that I think the simplest way will be to answer them here. The preparation is called “ Veloutine ;

Veloutine;" it is used with the colours, and saves all the trouble of preparing the material before painting on it. Veloutine can be bought of Messrs. Howell and James, at their Art Galleries, Regent Street, and of several of the leading artists' colourmen. The inventor's agent is Mr. Shelley, Chemist, Twickenham, S.W., from whom it can always be obtained by return post, carefully packed. This name, by-the-bye, must be on every label wherever bought, to insure its being the genuine medium. As there are three kinds, for textile materials of all kinds—for terra-cotta, and for tapestry painting -it is necessary to specify which kind is required. The price is 1s. 6d., or 2s. 8d. for a double bottle ; postage 2d., in either case.

Surely spring dresses are the most attractive of any, and those of this spring should be more so than ever; the choice of materials and trimmings is positively unlimited, the one great sine quâ non being their draping softly, and without the least stiffness.

Many of the favourite winter materials will be just as fashionable all through the summer.


This is really sensible, for with so variable a climate as ours, there are many days when a dress of velvet, or its best substitute, “Louis” velveteen, is far more suitable than the cooler and lighter seasonable (?) materials. It is so easy to brighten them with draperies of brilliant-coloured foulard, or silk and woollen brocades, both of which materials are as fashionably worn as ever.

The immense number of washing materials it is impossible even to enumerate; they are all without the least stiffness, and many of the better kinds will be worn for afternoon as well as morning dress, if stylishly made and trimmed.

For exquisite softness of quality in stamped washing silks, and quaintly, beautiful patterns—such as gold on white ground, gold on scarlet, canary varied with blue, and every variety of dazzling white or pale cream (all at most moderate price), Messrs. Liberty and Co. must be said to bear away the palm.

Artistic to the last degree in texture are those softly falling silken folds, to be worn equally by those who would live “up to a lily," or by others who aim no higher than that, whether in themselves beautiful or no, they shall “ go beautifully," as their sisters, but at less expense.

There is no greater difficulty with shapes and styles than with materials. During a season when “Princesse dresses, demiPrincesse polonaises, bodices with waistbands, coats, bodices with basques of various shapes, pointed bodices, long sheathlike casaques, paniers, are all in fashion at one and the same time, they must indeed be strangely constituted women who do not select the style most becoming to them, with such a liberty of choice, instead of blindly copying some one else whose style and figure are totally different.

It is wonderful to notice how persistently Mrs. M. and N. will insist on having their dresses exactly like those of Lady L., simply “because she is sure to be fashionably and elegantly dressed," the aforesaid Mrs. M. and N. never taking into consideration that what is becoming to Lady L.'s beautiful figure and graceful movements has a totally opposite effect on persons less favoured by Nature.

Loose trains, tabliers, scarf draperies, tunics unequally raised, skirts opening at the sides to show a pyramid of little flounces, over skirts open in front, turned back with large revers; draperies across the front and sides of the skirt ending behind under the long breadth that forms the back of the tunic; all these are worn this season, and as fashionable as when their various styles


first appeared. Paniers, whether cut with the bodice and draped, or made as separate scarves, are far too generally becoming to be discarded.

The leading shapes for polonaises are those raised by plaits or drawings, or narrower in the skirt, and merely left open part of the way up the front—this portion lined and turned back, and the points fastened each side of the back, or meeting in the centre with a large bow over the pouf at the back, which is made by draping the back breadth with strings.

Another of my hints will be of service here. The best way of arranging such draperies, that they may look graceful and informal, is to have three ribbons sewn to the back of the waist inside ; the material is then fastened to either of these ribbons by hidden stitches wherever the folds may be most desirable. This must, of course, be done on the wearer, or one of those invaluable model figures that are the saving of so much time and fatigue to both mistresses and maids.

The long tight-fitting Princesse bodices, with a scarf or tunic draped over them, representing the upper part of a Princesse dress, will be very fashionable ; they have the appearance of a dress cut all in one, without its disadvantages.

This make of dress can be worn out of doors without any extra covering ; polonaises also are admissible for walking and carriage dresses, without any additional coat or mantle ; should some little covering for the shoulders be wished, a round cape, or small loosely-tied fichu, is all that is necessary.

We shall be able to exist without Mother Hubbard cloaks till the autumn and winter, to the delight of our dressmakers, who think it hard—and I perfectly agree with them—that charming dresses should be hidden under great wraps. A very impertinent man of my acquaintance told me that the first “Mother Hubbard" he saw gave him a shock; he had heard of the great luxury of ladies' hidden garments, but never expected to meet "velvet and satin night-gowns walking about the streets."

There are plenty of elegant mantles, visites, and small pelerines to select from this season. Many are a mass of gauging, lace, and beads, and there are some charming little pelerine capes of satin gauged half-way from the throat, the rest of plain satin covered with lace plissés.

The spring bonnets are delightfully pretty. Small capotes and Princesse shapes of straw, trimmed with lace, Indian muslin, and flowers; open-work straw in lace-like patterns, lined with colours, and trimmed with flowers or feathers. Floral bonnets will be much worn; the shapes are small and literally covered with small flowers, the most fashionable just now being violets, primroses, and wall-flowers. The muff decorations, whether flowers or paintings, must of course correspond.

Bonnets of black net, profusely beaded, the brims edged with large beads, are not only elegant but very convenient, as any flower can be put in to go with the dress worn.

The delightful little lace bonnets called “colimaçons" by the Parisian milliners, have the same advantage; these are very easily made; a long piece of lace is sewn on the brim, kilted or gathered, and wound round and round the bonnet, row above row, till it ends in the centre of the crown.

« AnteriorContinuar »