The very special beetle wings dress from Victorian era, 1860s http://www.whitakerauction.smugsmug.com/
This time the story is about Victorian fashion era and the very special dress in which the glamorous "blooming", metallic thread displays garlands of flowers and where the beetle wing applique embroidery glistens...
This is a seemingly typical, and even visually very modest day dress, which was made of light and white organza fabric... And yet it reflects all the typical features of fashion from the half-crinoline era. What makes it so unusual is the embroidery of 550 beetle wings. Victorian society once was so fascinated by this feature, because it was thirsty to see exotic references in everyday life and festive occasions.
White organza gown consists of two parts - bodice and skirt with several flounces sewn on to them. In the middle part and the second half of the 19th century it was common combination for a dress. Very well balanced embroidery composition appears with silver metallic threads depicting floral garlands. The petals of flowers and the stems were adorned with emerald and sapphire blue applications... Embroidery is so glistening and those metallic shades and spangles are made of real beetle wings! They decorate not only bodice part, highlighting the small collar, but also appear on the bar at the long sleeves and cuffs. Four layers of flounces, with jagged edges, that look like the shells, are also abundantly decorated with beetle wings.
Picture Gallery: 1. Back view of the day dress 2., 3. Details of embroidery
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My name is Edīte Parute and I am a fashion historian and researcher from Latvia, association member at "The Association of Dress Historians" (UK) and author of the book "Stila un modes enciklopēdija"/"Encyclopedia of Style and Fashion" (2010) as well as author of many publications.