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 via

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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 via

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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, 1897 via

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

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

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Miss Goelet as Scheherazade via

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

Vintage American Fashion Lithographs by Mme. Demorest (1880s)

Ellen Louise Demorest (1824 – 1898) was a US fashion arbiter. She was a successful milliner, widely credited for inventing mass-produced tissue-paper dressmaking patterns.

With her husband, William Jennings Demorest, she established a company to sell the patterns, which were adaptations of the latest French fashions, and a magazine to promote them (1860).

Her dressmaking patterns made French styles accessible to ordinary women, thus greatly influencing US fashion.

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Fashion lithograph from Mme. Demorest’s reliable patterns from the 1880’s. The Print shows 3 young women in daytime fashion of the day via

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Fashion lithograph from Mme. Demorest’s reliable patterns, circa 1880-1890’s. It shows a front and back view of the model gervaise basque – gwendoline skirt with adjustable train via

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Fashion lithograph from Mme. Demorest’s reliable patterns, circa 1880-1890’s. It depicts 3 children in fashion of the day via

Two Well-dressed Victorian Couples by Pierre-Louis Pierson (1870s)

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Pierre-Louis Pierson, Young Couple (Circle of Duc d’Aumale), 1870s, France via

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Pierre-Louis Pierson, Military Officer and Woman (Circle of Duc d’Aumale), 1870s, France via

Costumes de Théâtre by Redfern (1908)

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Exposition à l’Hôtel des Modes. Photograph in Les Modes : Revue mensuelle illustrée des arts décoratifs appliqués à la femme, 1908 via

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Exposition à l’Hôtel des Modes. Photograph in Les Modes : Revue mensuelle illustrée des arts décoratifs appliqués à la femme , 1908 via

Fashion at Longchamp 1912 by Seeberger Frères

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Seeberger Frères (Jules Louis, Henri) – Fashion at the Longchamp Racetrack, France 1912 via

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Seeberger Frères (Jules Louis, Henri) – Fashion at the Longchamp Racetrack, France 1912 via

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Seeberger Frères (Jules Louis, Henri) – Fashion at the Longchamp Racetrack, France 1912 via

A Collection of Turn of the Century Fashion Photographs

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Otto Sarony, Portrait of Evelyn Nesbit, 1900s via

Tightlaced Gibson Girl, Camille Clifford, showing her ideal La Belle Époque figure via

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Edwardian lady wearing Redfern, who among other things popularised high-waisted Grecian style dresses after 1908 via

Dress for the races by J. Dukes, photo by Reutlinger, Les Modes, May 1912 via

A fashionable woman at the races in 1909. Scanned from the book “The Mechanical Smile” by Caroline Evans via

Gorgeous Edwardian dresses, hats and parasols. Toilettes vues aux Grand Prix. Irlande et linon brodé de la grande Maison de Dentelles, 1906. Belle epoque fashion.

Gorgeous Edwardian dresses, hats and parasols, 1906. Belle epoque fashion via

Lily Elsie...can't help but think how pretty she looked.

Actress Lily Elsie in an Ewdardian gown via

Raoul Dufy textile design on velvet for Paul Poiret cape 1911 via The Humanities Exchange, Montreal, Canada

Raoul Dufy was one of the great innovators of 20th century textile design here is an example on velvet for a Paul Poiret cape 1911 via

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Woman wearing French fashion. ca. 1905 via

Fashion, ca. 1914 via

Antique photo postcard of Edwardian beauty with a large hat and a snowfox stole around her shoulders via