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The House of Worth

A few days ago I happened to be looking through the immense collection of dresses in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's web site and I crossed paths with two beautiful dresses, both belonging to the well-known House of Worth. And I just thought that they deserved a post of their own.

House of Worth is a French house of high fashion that specialized in Haute Couture, ready-to-wear clothes and perfumes. It was created around 1858 by Charles Frederick Worth and it continued to operate under the direction of his sons (and their sons in turn) until 1956 when it finally closed. The House of Worth brand was revived in 1999.

When it first opened as a dressmaking shop, in 1858, it was soon recognized by royalty and became a great success, gaining a huge reputation. At his shop, Charles Frederick Worth would show his creations on live models, and the clients would choose and order what they liked. This method is actually the origin of Haute Couture. Both then and now, Worth’s gowns are considered works of art on their own. 

The brand maintained its standard and popularity throughout Charles' life and until its closure in 1956.

But enough about history. This is the first dress I wanted to talk about.


This gorgeous dress is an evening dress belonging to the aforementioned House of Worth. The design of the gown is attributed to Charles Frederick Worth and Jean-Phillippe Worth (his son), and it dates from 1894. This gown is basically made of Silk.

What I particularly like about this gown is the shape and coloring it has. The rich golden tones with the embroidered silk are just perfect. The level of detail it has is just astounding: take notice of the embroidery on the sleeve, or the embroidery on the bodice. If you look close enough you'll notice that the bodice is actually embroidered with tiny pearls, which give it an incredible richness.



I also love the hanging embroidered silk that crosses the skirt of the dress diagonally. 


And the set of roses on the shoulder may seem like a stupid detail, but it’s actually the perfect decoration for the upper part of the gown. 

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The other dress I was referring to was this beautiful piece.


This beautiful gown is the other dress I found while digging in the archives of the Metropolitan. This is also an evening dress from the House of Worth. But this one was designed exclusively by Jean- Phillippe Worth in 1989. The basic materials are silk and rhinestones.

I particularly like the cherry iconography, which adds a very cheerful tone to the dress. 


Back then, this would have been a very expensive textile as the motifs are printed on the warp threads before being woven.

But what I really adore of this gown is the back.


The fact that it's open (sort of), makes it really interesting and fresh. And the design made with the rhinestones is frankly impressive.

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There is nothing more that I can say that will match the beauty and interest of these gowns, but all I wanted was to share these art pieces with you costume-lovers all around the internet. The truth is that the House of Worth is incredibly important for the world of Haute Couture and has left a huge amount of dresses that are just stunning. And if you like them, go to the Metropolitan's web and delight yourself, for there are a lot of these gorgeous costumes.

What do you think?

Last but not least; all these pictures belong to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and I claim no rights over them (http://www.metmuseum.org/).

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