The Polonaise I am making is influenced by a number of fashion plates. This is in keeping with the clothing making of the time. Fashion plates from a specific year may demonstrate specific trends, but gowns made in that year are often more like composites from the past few years. It makes sense. When a modern woman chooses an outfit with good taste, she will wear what she feels flatters her the most from, say the trends of the last 3 years or so.
In the early first bustle period, the bustle skirt still bore a resemblance to the old elliptical hoop. To the left is a picture of a Polonaise from 1872 made from an embroidered silk, and a lining and underskirt of a purple silk not to dissimilar from the one that I have chosen. There is a wholeness to the design. Though the polonaise cuts the lower portion of the body vertically in half, one does get the sense that the skirt she is wearing is consistent all the way around. This is in keeping with old hoop period gowns, where the skirts generally had similar decoration all the around, or, if the decoration varied, it was not with the intention of cutting the lower body into design segments or compartments.
By 1874, there was a trend to segment the skirt into pieces. To the right is a royal blue polonaise, where the front half of the lower skirt has a completely different treatment than the back half. The skirt next to it demonstrates the same phenomeanon.
To the left is a fashion plate from 1875. The pink ballgown is a polonaise with a turned back lining, such as my own. I also got a shot of the purple gown because the exaggerated side panel is used as a seperation between the front decoration and back decoration.
To the right is an 1876 purple plaid gown. I love the decoration of the hem of the underskirt. It’s a laryer of pleats,then two layers of ruching. The texture must have a fantastic effect when it moves.
To the right is another lovely purple frock. It is entering Natural form territory.
I am at a decision point. I could treat the back portion of the underskirt hem differently than the front portion of the underskirt hem, thereby, making it a highly fashionable gown for the c. 1874-1875 period, or treat it similarly, and then remain firmly in the 1872-1873 period. It’s not a huge deal. It’s an academic issue, the type which one has a tendency to fret over when one comes close to completion.