© The Kyoto Costume Institute, photo by Kazuo Fukunaga
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c.1875 - unknown (Country)
- White linen organdy; blue feather print; skirt with flounces.
- Inventory Number(s)
- AC2210 79-9-15AB
In the second half of the 19th century, silhouettes underwent considerable change. The bustle style was in fashion from the end of the 1860s to the 1880s. This silhouette, jutting out at the back of the dress below the waist, was produced by an undergarment called a bustle, with further volume added by tucking up an overskirt at the rear. Around 1880, there was a brief fashion for bustles that projected less, but from then until the mid 1880s, sizes grew again, becoming much larger.
In the second half of the 19th century, greater affluence enabled people to enjoy their newfound leisure time outdoors. On such occasions, women wore dresses like this, made of thin, translucent fabrics such as organdy or tarlatan that catch the sun.
At about this time, fashion became accessible to the general public, and impressionist painters vividly portrayed the new fashions as symbols of modérnité (modernity). Their paintings now provide a pictorial record of the rapid changes in silhouettes every few years. Auguste Renoir’s La balançoire (1876, Musée d’Orsay, Paris) depicts a woman wearing a dress similar to this one.
Auguste Renoir, La balançoire, 1876, (Musée d’Orsay, Paris)