Tag Archives: nasturtium dress

Gowns That Copy Flowers: 1901


les fleurs animees daisy 1847

The Daisies, from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847


Summer Girl’s Latest Fad Is to Copy Nature’s Blossoms

Flower gowns are the fad of this year’s summer girl. She is now busy collecting the gowns for the various resorts where she will be an enchanting figure, and as she may copy every flower that blows, provided the color combination is becoming, there is scarcely a limit to her ingenuity and gowns except the size of her purse. The idea is poetical enough to satisfy even the most romantic of maidens, and the, result may be achieved at small cost, particularly if the maiden be deft of finger. One of the simplest and prettiest of these frocks is the daisy gown. It is made, of sheer white goods, with a touch of yellow either, as a girdle, a knot at the throat, or, what is even more consistent, a single large chou on the front of the corsage. A violet gown copies the hue of this favorite flower and has a touch of green, while the orchid frock shows an artistic blending of purple and lilac, with a little dash of yellow.

les fleurs animee capuchine nasturtium

Nasturtium / Capuchine from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847

The girl who is fond of red and has a weakness for daring combinations will not omit a nasturtium gown from her wardrobe. This is exceedingly Frenchy when well done, but takes the eye of an artist to gain the proper effect, for reds are treacherous colors and are apt to swear very loudly at each other if the greatest care is not used in their selection.

In this particular instance as many as four shades of red are introduced, ranging from a pink to a deep raspberry, and while almost all of the other flower frocks are most effective when made of thin goods that belong to the “wash” family, the nasturtium gown, to be really stunning, should be of some soft wool goods, or of silk, panne velvet or satin.

les fleurs animees bluet and poppy 1847

Cornflower and Poppy, from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847

Another charming thing in red follows the fashion set by the poppy, and is a vivid crimson, relieved with a bit of black. For a dainty little blonde there is nothing more charming than a forget-me-not gown of pale blue with a belt of soft yellow, while if a deeper blue is desired the cornflower may be copied.

The girl who likes pink catches her note from the carnation and appears in a pretty little pink affair relieved with a bit of green, while the dashing brunette who dares to don yellow has the daffodil as a model.

les fleurs animees pansy 1847

Pansy, from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847

One great charm of these novel frocks is their fluffiness and daintiness. They must be as fresh and pleasing in color as their flower prototypes, and while they may have all the ruffles, tucks, lace and hand work that distinguish this season’s gowns, they must not be too elaborate or gaudy. As a finishing touch, after each gown is completed it is laid away in a sachet of the flower it represents, so that if the observer is too dull to catch its meaning it tells the secret in its perfume as well as by its coloring. Orris root is used as the fragrance for the daisy gown.

The Minneapolis [MN] Journal 29 June 1901: p. 20

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Mrs Daffodil often wonders if the novelties described in the fashion papers were meticulously copied by assiduous readers, or if they were merely aspirational. It is one thing to create a fanciful flower frock, but laying away each gown with a matching flower-scented sachet is a nicety usually only found in the sort of “Frenchy” novels written by Elinor Glyn, rather than at resorts frequented by poetical-minded Summer Girls.

One might carry the floral theme a bit further by hosting A Violet Luncheon and urging guests to dress as that flower. If one was more earthly in temperament, one might hold a Vegetable Fancy Dress party. For the floral fanatic, there were various Floral Fetes, combining fashion and flower-bedecked motor-cars. Mrs Daffodil also wonders if a cactus costume was ever created, to keep the summer-resort fortune-hunters at bay?

les fleurs animee cactus

Cactus, from Les Fleurs Animées, J.J. Grandville, 1847


Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdote

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.