Dress; Herbert Haynes & Co; 1870s; CS/6528
DressAbout this object
It is not known who wore this dress or when. There is a Dunedin maker’s label, however, from Herbert Haynes & Co, a large drapery and clothing store in Princes Street established in 1861. It is a stylish two-piece day dress, probably from the mid 1870s. The main fabric is a deep burgundy velvet, although this has faded now to a brown. This is off-set by a satin trim in the same colour. The cuirasse bodice (which came into fashion about 1874) has a plastron in this fabric between the two rows of buttons down the front. This satin panel is ruched top and bottom. The round metal buttons – 54 of them altogether – are repeated on the sleeve cuffs and on the basques at the back. There was even a spare button, tucked away in a concealed pocket in the bustle drapery at the rear. The characteristic 1870s watch pocket sits just above the hip. Cream bobbin lace provides a nice relief above the high stand collar and at the cuffs of the full-length fitted sleeves.
The skirt has a pleated side front panel and swathes of fabric gathered into asymmetrical drapery to the rear. The overskirt ends in a series of square indentations with a pleated velvet ruffle around the hemline underneath. The dress is in very good condition although the waistband has been replaced. This may have been to extend the dress’s life when the wearer was a bit larger or perhaps simply because the weight of the velvet had pulled the original waistband apart.
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