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Beauty, grace, and poise

Worth | Fancy Dress Harem Pants | c. 1870 This particular pair of Turkish trousers combined with its elaborately embroidered fashionable bodice, is appropriate for a fancy dress ball and indicates the lengths that people would go to for this type of costume event. Owning an expensive Worth fancy dress ball ensemble would have been the epitome of distinction and extravagance.

Beadnet dress | Egyptian Old Kingdom, Dynasty 4, reign of Khufu |2551–2528 B.C. Depictions of women in Egyptian art occasionally feature garments decorated with an overall lozenge pattern. This design is believed to represent beadwork, which was either sewn onto a linen dress or worked into a separate net worn over the linen. This beadnet dress is the earliest surviving example of such a garment. It has been painstakingly reassembled from approximately seven thousand beads found in an undisturbed burial of a female contemporary of King Khufu. Although their string had disintegrated, a few beads still lay in their original pattern on and around the mummy, permitting an accurate reconstruction. The color of the beads has faded, but the beadnet was originally blue and blue green in imitation of lapis lazuli and turquoise. (Boston MFA)

  • Anne Hamilton

    Wow, that's gorgeous. Too bad I don't have an overall lozenge body because something like that would be wonderful to have copied.