An EXTRAORDINARY 19th Century Victorian Folk costume circa 1860-1880, with the most creative embroideries and extravagant Celtic Folk details, which was probably part of a Brittany wedding costume.
The top is STILL WEARABLE! today with real precautions of course. Do not attempt to dry-clean it as it is clean, and has only minimum yellowing of the lace.
I would wear it a couple times, and then display it in a room. (away from sunshine)
This is an extremely luxurious top, with super thick silk velvet, incredibly luscious and with diamond shaped cut outs lined with black tulle, hand made ecru Celtic lace, super delicate and compact Folk embroideries in shiny cottons, 3 rows of dangling velvet ribbons with mini balls! and a silk boned corset.
Even the corset straps that maintain the top to the waist are made of the most sophisticated silk ribbons, with the signature "Maguire" Paris (a brand also represented in Pillsbury, Pa!)
Although the lace looks like Irish lace, it was I believe made in Brittany, also a Celtic region with similar folklore. The background lace is a (mechanical) point d'esprit tulle, all re-embroidered by hand on top, with three dimensional effects,
Except for the corset bones, the WHOLE garment is hand made! There are weeks if not months of work in this fabulous piece.
The back has a stunning T shape structure with a wide belt and large central strap and a very small counterpoint square motif at the bottom. This is so simple and so beautiful! The velvet work is sumptuous: strongly defined cutouts of the front and sleeves and miniature green velvet ribbon adorned with metallic knots. The Victorian high collar is also finished with a delicate black velvet trim.
Definitely a Masterpiece!
MEASUREMENTS: Length: 19" (mid front). 17" sides and back. Waist: 30". Bust: 38". Arm opening: 18". Sleeve length: 23".
Both the waist and the bust can be made slightly larger, by 1/2 inch, possibly 3/4" by moving the hooks.
CONDITION: About the best for its age and type of fabrics. This means of course wear to the lace tulle which has a variety of cuts, particularly under the arms, the dangling velvet ribbons which are uneven, the silk lining gone under the arms. But all of this is absolutely normal, can be easily restored, and the costume having been protected from daylight is still incredibly fresh with totally intact vivid embroideries,, hardly no loss of any kind, and an absolutely fabulous deep black (with a touch of navy) velvet with no fading.