Court Dress | c. 1860-65

The combination of court dress and the 1860s crinoline makes for a most splendid garment. Dress worn to court was the most elaborate and expensive ensemble in a lady’s wardrobe. This example characterises the rich embellishment of this type of dress, decorated with hand and machine embroidery, ribbons and silk gauze. Although presentations at court took place during the day, the arms and shoulders were bare as in evening dress. In addition to a skirt worn over a very large crinoline, a train extending for several metres was an essential feature of court dress. Young debutantes would spend hours practising how to curtsey and walk backward in such an elaborate ensemble before their first presentation at court.

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