A Pretty Polonaise

What would the fashionable lady of the 1770’s wear to convey her fashion savvy? Enter the Polonaise…in my mind the most unusual silhouette of the 18th century; quite the accolade when you consider the variation in Georgian fashions.

The pretty cream silk polonaise on display at Berrington Hall (from March 1st) comprise a wide ribbed satin stripe fabric with brocaded floral sprays in red, pink, green, black, pale blue and yellow. The dress is dated 1775 – 80 but it has survived in the most remarkable condition as the images above testify. Both Bradfield and the Snowshill conservation record acknowledge that the bodice and sleeves have been enlarged under the arms and skirt and that the fabric of the petticoat has been used before ‘probably as [the] original petticoat with pieces removed to [the] dress.’

In her incredible tome, Costume In Detail, Nancy Bradfield points to several examples of the polonaise illustrated in portraits of the period but it is the fashion plates of the period that really convey the whimsical romance this style of dress exudes.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Anny says:

    They really are confections aren’t they. Can you imagine wearing them! I think there should be an event at somewhere like Berrington Hall where people could dress up in Georgian costume and wonder around experiencing what it really felt like…

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    1. Hi Anny!

      From April 1st we are indeed dedicating a room at Berrington for trying on panniers, side hoops, tall wigs etc…you can practice the impossible art of walking elegantly through a door way in your panniers or attempting to gracefully sit on a chair whilst striving desperately to emanate Georgian chic!

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      1. Anny says:

        OMG! Marvellous – I have to see this!

        Like

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