Materials: Cream silk faille, silk
embroidered net lace, Valenciennes lace, pleated silk muslin, heavy netting,
cloth flowers with wax orange blossoms, metal weights; bodice lining: 12
whalebone stays, tan silk twill, silk satin and silk taffeta, silk grosgrain
petersham; skirt lining: stiffened cotton; train lining: windowpane buckram,
stiffened cotton gauze, cotton cording, pleated double ruffle of cotton gauze
edged with Val. lace.
Provenance: This gown was purchased
from the estate of Helen Harriman, an antique dealer and collector from Buffalo,
N.Y. original owner is unknown.
Label: Stamped in gold on the
petersham, "E. PINGAT, 30. RUE LOUIS LE GRAND. 30, PARIS".
Condition: Bodice, Excellent: the
pleated muslin lining ruffle in the cuffs and neckline is shredding, extremely
faint stain on left underarm, and at the top of the left sleeve there's a
1/2" tear in the faille, buttons are reproductions of original.
Skirt, Excellent: beneath some of the wax blossoms, wax has melted onto the
skirt fabric in several spots (these spots are covered by the floral trim), many
of the cloth flowers are missing, a few places in the waist and bustle areas
stitching has come loose, brass waist band hooks missing. Train, Good:
there are several water stains (fortunately, with the pleated folds in the
train, most are not prominent) and some faint surface soiling, the train's
lining shows evidence of having been cut and shortened at some time in this
Measurements: Bodice: B, 35";
W, 34"; Sh-Sh, 14"; Sh-W, 13"; Slv L, 19". Skirt: W,
27"; Front L, 41"; Back L, 67"; Hem C, 154". Train: from W,
80" x 38" wide.
Comments: The Parisian couturier
Emile Pingat was as well known in l9th century high fashion circles as Charles
Worth. In her book, The Opulent Era, fashion historian Elizabeth
Ann Coleman has this to say about Pingat: "...he was one of the most
prominent French couturiers - revered especially by American clients, perhaps
only second to Worth....Many considered Pingat's creations the most select.
Craftsmanship of the house can be deemed near flawless....His clothes, murmuring
elegance rather than shouting affluence, demand close inspection inside and
out.....The surface decorations of Pingat, as much as cut and more than fabric,
separate his creations from Worth, who relied largely on fabrics to carry his
creations." The quality of workmanship and trim on this wedding gown
corroborate Ms. Coleman's opinion. The heavily embroidered silk-on-net
lace is sumptuous. This silk lace is lined with a fleur-de-lis motif
Valenciennes lace which is lined with a finely pleated muslin, itself trimmed
with yet another bobbin lace! With minor restoration on this fabulous
wedding gown, it could become the centerpiece of a museum display or private