Late Victorian Fancy Dress: The Devonshire House Ball in 1897

The Devonshire House Costume Ball of 1897 was one of the most anticipated social events of 1897. To stress the importance of th magnificent affair, the London Photographic Firm Lafayette was invited to take studio-style photographs of the guests in their costumes, which ranged from mythical goddesses, figures from paintings, and historical kings and queens.

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The Duke of York, later King George V (1865-1936), as “The Queen’s Champion” and the Duchess of York, later Queen Mary (1867-1953)  as “a Lady at the Court of Marguerite de Valois” at the Devonshire House Fancy Dress Ball 1897.

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Frances Evelyn (Daisy), the countess of Warwick, chose Marie Antoinette as her costume for the elegant and highly anticipated evening. The costume, made by Worth of Paris, was studded with real diamonds and used both gold and antique lace.

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Lady Randolph Churchill (1854-1921), née Jennie Jerome in a Worth Parisian Costume, as Empress Theodora, while attending the Devonshire House Ball, in 1897.

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Consuelo Marlborough (née Vanderbilt), dressed for the Devonshire House Ball in 1897.

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Mary Teresa (‘Daisy’) (Cornwallis-West), Princess of Pless dressed as Queen of Sheba for the Devonshire House Ball

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Miss Goelet as Scheherazade

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The ethereal beauty of Mrs J Graham Menzies in the role of Titania, Queen of the Fairies

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Models Wearing Turn Of the Century Dresses by House of Worth

Charles Frederick Worth (1826-1895) is widely considered the Father of Haute Couture. He dominated Parisian fashion in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

He completely revolutionised the business of dressmaking. He was the first of the couturiers, dressmakers considered artists rather than mere artisans.

Much of his work is associated with the movement to redefine the female fashionable shape, removing excessive ruffles and frills and using rich fabrics in simple but flattering outlines. He is also credited as the first designer to put labels onto the clothing he manufactured.

Evening Dress, House of Worth ca. 1890

House of Worth afternoon jacket 1895

Afternoon jacket House of Worth

Evening dress

Evening dress, House of Worth 1902

Evening coat

Evening coat, House of Worth, 1902

Tea gown

Silk tea gown, House of Worth, 1900-1901

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Draping of blouses in Worth, Paris 1907.

An elegant woman at Worth’s studio in 1900