Civil War Era Chit Chat - June 1863 Godey's Lady's Book
Chitchat upon New York and Philadelphia Fashions for June
There is a charming little french tale, which fascinated our childish imagination, in which a band of young girls were to choose and wear a wreath of their favorite flower, and a prize was to be given to the one who had made the loveliest selection. The prize was won by the lily of the valley, twined as a garland, with a few dark green forest leaves. We recalled this story of our childhood while standing a few days since among the delicate creations of Madame Tilman's opening spring parterre. Our eyes rested on a bridal wreath, consisting of a coronet of pure white Narcissus with their golden centres, surrounded by orange-buds and lilies of the valley. A cordon of orange buds surrounded the veil, caught together at the side by a rich blossom of Narcissus, and terminating in two floating sprays of lilies of the valley, trailing over the shoulder. The wreath was mounted with Mme. Tilman's own peculiar grace; no arbitrary arrangement, but studied to suit the style of the bride for whom it was destined. The wreath was part of a bridal garniture, which comprised a garland for the skirt, and a bouquet to be worn quite to the left, rather than the centre of the corsage.
A pretty novelty appeared, in the wreaths intended for the six bridemaids. They were each of the simplest flowers, lightly mounted with grass in bloom, and each wreath a different flower. Buttercups, wild roses, the downy white tops of the dandelions, with blades of grass spangled with dew, violets, and Guelder roses, made up this novel and charming set of decorations for one of the most fashionable weddings that the daily prints have chronicled this "season of flowers."
Of Mme. Tilman's bonnets, we may say that in shape as well as style, they are entirely different from those of any other house. The general effect as to shape is as though the front of the brim drooped beneath the rich trimming of lace, crepe, and flowers which is placed upon it. The charm of simplicity as well as novelty and richness, belonged to all that came under our review. We mention a few of them. One was of white crin, with a garniture on the brim, of rich French moss, on which a butterfly was most gracefully posed. The inside trimming was of the moss and clusters of rose-buds; the cap was of pink crepe, laid in folds. Another of white crepe had a cordon of violets of three shades, bordering the front, and drooping over the forehead, forming a complete Marie Stuart.
Nor must we pass the most stylish of all, made so by the straw edging of its black velvet bands, the delicacy of its trailing lace ornaments, ending in a cluster of black ox-heart cherries and shining ivy leaves.
For a general guidance, we might say that lace, rich plain ribbon of delicate shades, or black combined with high colors, crepe, a profusion of lovely flowers and butterflies, are the materials chiefly used in the decoration of summer straws.
We are also indebted to the same lady, whose address is 148 east Ninth Street, New York, for some new styles of round hats. The Francis I., looped up at the right by bands of black velvet, edged with straw, and decorated with field flowers and grass, drooping like a plume at the back of the hat, is decidedly the most piquant. The Andalusions, high sloping crowns trimmed with feathers, flowers, lace scarfs, and humming-birds, will also be very popular. A novelty to us, though long known in Paris, has just been introduced for the opera. It is a round hat of illusion, the corwn laid in folds, and the brim a mass of puffings. A silk scarf is tied at the back of the hat, and a cluster of moss -rose-buds, among which nestles a charming crested humming-bird, is placed directly in front.
In this connection, we would command the tasteful selection of Mr. Myers, 303 Canal Street (Reynold's Bazaar), for children. He has introduced the humming-birds, of which we have before spoken, among the pretty flowers with which the hats are ornamented. He has also an excellent array of natural ostrich plumes, more serviceable than pure white ones for little people. The styles are varied and becoming, and the combinations tasteful.
We have been busily engaged in gleaning all the information we could respecting new dresses. Fancy is always creating a thousand novelties or new and charming arrangements of old materials.
Fluted ruffles are much in favor for every kind of material. It is true, ruffles are old, but what trimming is more becoming? and the present season they are arranged with other trimmings, which greatly increases their style.
Alpaca of all shades is universally adopted, made with wraps of the same, most of them being talmas, though one of our distinguished modestes is making only short tight-fitting sacks for the robes en suite.
Strolling through the salons of Mme. Penchon, of Bleeker Street, we saw the richest and most extravagant assortment of dresses we have yet beheld. At no previous season do we recollect having seen such a collection of elegant dresses, not of expensive materials, but so elaborately trimmed that, for bareges and grenadines, prices ranged from $50 to $100.
For elegant full dress, suitable for matrons, were rich black silks, trimmed in every variety of style with white silk, in bands or flounces, covered by black French lace, price $200. The skirts and sleeves alone of the dresses were made, the waist being arranged to suit the purchaser. The sleeves were all shaped from the elbow, and trimmed to correspond with the skirt.
A cuir-colored barege, figured with black, was trimmed with one fluted ruffle four inches deep; and heading this was a band of rich French lace of a new style, bordered on each edge like a barbe. Another dress of the same color was somewhat similar, only heavy bands of the lace three inches wide, bordered on each side with a fluting of the material down each side.
Many of the dresses were trimmed with silk, cut out in various devices, and stitched on; for instance, rings of silk or velvet linked, scrolls, triangles, and other styles. A buff alpaca was cut in deep scallops, and trimmed with six rows of black and white braid; from under this came a fluted ruffle, which formed the edge of the skirt. The dresses were all faced half a yard deep with a white corded material.
A black ground Foulard, figured with colors, was trimmed with linked rings of various-colored silks, forming a charming bordering. This robe was made postillion waist, with the swallow-tailed jockey at the back. Zouaves are rather shorted than last season, just reaching the waist. The gray and cuir alpacas were either trimmed with silk, or braid of the same shade, or else with black velvet. We noticed a gray, with a plain upright Grecian of black velvet, through which ran a straight band of velvet, and at the distance of every half yard, the pattern formed a pyramid.
Bands of narrow ribbon, graduated from the sides of each breadth to the centre, formed a very pretty trimming. We must not omit a charming dress, suitable for a young lady. This was of white barege, spotted with tiny blue dots. On the edge of the skirt was a fluted ruffle, simply hemmed, then bands of blue ribbon, sewed on bias, and just reaching a second ruffle. Then another bordering of ribbons, sewed on the reverse way, and above this was another fluted ruffle, extending up the front en tunique. The space between the tunic ruffles in front being filled in with ribbons, pointed in the centre.
The wraps were very full talmas, bias at the back, with a seam down the centre. Many of the black ones being trimmed with velvet and steel buttons, chenille fringe, lace, and flutings. Those of the same material as the dress were trimmed to correspond. Bareges and grenadines are also made with scraps of the same.
The styles this season are so various that we can but touch on them, feeling that the pen is feeble, and the artist's pencil can best describe some of them. We, therefore, refer our readers to our wood-cuts for some of Stewart's new robes, hoping in our next number ro give still others.
Braiding is still in vogue, and for that purpose, we have the tiniest of all velvets in all colors, which braid charmingly.
Most of the new robes are stamped to imitate braiding; some en tablier, others as a bordering round the skirt. Delicate percules of neutral tints of this style form charming morning robes, and, en passant, we may remark, that all the morning robes have the skirts closed.
Wool taffetas, alpacas, and other goods are to be had in this robe style, also bareges; but in the latter, the pattern is varied, having rich leaves and palms thrown carelessly though the graceful braiding pattern. Other bareges are chain-stitched in various designs, and have shawls embroidered to match.
The Foulards this year are particularly rich, resembling heavy silks, both in style and price. They are bordered the same as the other goods, but the designs are richer and more artistic. Then there are the beautiful twisted silk grenadines, white grounds, with the daintiest little colored sprigs, or black grounds, figured with the most gorgeous colors.
Among the pretty little accessories to the toilet are the colored cravats, or scarfs for ladies, made of a netted silk, double and finished with tassels. These are carelessly knotted round the throat, or passed under the collar.
The Religieuse sleeve is now the rage. It is an undersleeve with a deep wristband, about five inches deep, turned down, and sufficiently large to pass the hand through easily. In some cases the ends are rounded, and in others the cuff is sewed to the edge. Collars are lrager, made with deep points in front. This style is called the Shakspeare, the cuffs to correspond are very deep, and fastened with four gold buttons. We have noticed linen cuffs made with a very deep point on top, others straight on top, with long, pointed ends.
The display of parasols this season is very good. The most elegant being of moire, trimmed with marabout feathers, or lace, or else lively shades of mauve, pink, or green taffetas, with Brussels pr point applique coverings. More simple styles are dotted with pearl, jet, or steel beads, or have a fanciful bordering formed of beads. Others are of a light, or white silk, lined with colors, and chain-stitched in a pattern of the same color as the lining. In these the handles are either ivory or gilt, but in the more expensive styles, the handled are perfect gems of art, being richly carved out of coral or pearl.
Here perhaps we ought to stop; but when once we begin to gossip with our readers, we find it difficult to leave off. And we cannot help a passing allusion (although it belongs more appropriately to another part of our Chat) to what is probably the most superb dress, which will be seen during this year, at least in the great world of fashion on either side of the water. We speak of the Brussels lace dress which was one of the bridal gifts to "Denmark's fair daughter." It was, indeed, a royal gift, worthy of the royal donor, the King of the Belgians. The designs of the lace, we are informed, are splendid groups of roses, fuchsias, forget-me-nots, etc. The ground work is filled in with small English crowns, with the initial letter of the Princess Alexandra embroidered beneath them. In portions of the composition the style of the Fifteenth century is revived, and houses in an oval frame and a bird defending its nest of eggs from the attack of a serpent, are represented in a style which is half Chinese.