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Source: The Illustrated London News, May 5, 1855
Longchamps and the fine weather have realised our predictions, and we are, accordingly, in a better position for advising our fair readers as to the choice of summer dresses. Flounces are not so much in favour as hitherto, and dresses can be worn with plain skirts, the patterns being placed crosswise, and lessening towards the waist. They are cut out and placed upon a plain ground for flounces; or they are left altogether upon the ground, and thus form a plain skirt. Almost all the grounds are à petits quadrilles, very delicate, and the patterns are of coloured watered bands, and garlands of flowers of soft and very varied shades. Basques seem to be coming up again. The dresses have a disposition that forms the first flounce, and falls over upon the plain skirt. One of the newest robes is the Robe Neapolitaine, of all shades. The ground is of taffetas, with a pattern woven in colour, and forming a draught-board; the pattern diminishing towards the top of the skirt. The corsage has three trimmings for the sleeves in smaller quadrilles, as well as the front of the corsage and the border of the basque. Other robes are of vert celadon upon vert pre, bleu Louise upon bleu plus foncé, &c. They are generally worn with flounces; and in almost all the patterns of the lower part there is black, to contrast with these light colours; or the pattern is une Grecque, or à quadrille. But when they are garlands of flowers, or sprinkled bouquets, no other shades than those of the flowers are employed. Robes trimmed with garlands are called Corbeilles de Flore. Almost all the flounces are trimmed with a fringe. Black taffetas mantles are trimmed with deep Chantilly lace, falling over half the length of the skirt, and crossing in front. This kind is more recherché, and is in greater favour than the paletots with sleeves, which fit closer to the figure.
The most distingué bonnets are white. Those of paille de riz, with alternated bands of white blonde, will be most worn. They are ornamented with tufts of straw-coloured feathers, shaded rose towards the end. Many white feathers are also worn, with black. Bonnets are as small as ever; but, to make up for it, the curtain falls very far behind the neck. It is proposed to have boots to match the shades of walking dresses; but the innovation is not a happy one. We recommend black or gold-coloured English leather.
We were unable last month to describe the toilette worn by the Empress at Longchamps, but we now supply that deficiency. It was composed of a pearl-grey taffetas robe, ornamented up to the centre of the skirt, with liserons woven in silk of the same shade; upon the front width the embroidery was continued up to the point of the corsage. The corsage was flat, montant a pointe, and without basques. It was closed by small delicate pearl buttons, and worked upon the breast with liserons, like the smaller ones. Similar embroidery ornamented the flounces of the sleeves. The collar and the sleeves (called é l'Imperatrice, and described by us last February) were in point à l'aiguille. A magnificent shawl of Indian gauze, with a white ground, embroidered in relief with flowers and fruit, woven with threads of gold and silver. The bonnet was of paille-de-riz and bands of blonde; tufts of muguets des bois were placed on each side.
Paletot à pointe, trimmed with Chantilly lace, and quadrilles de velours above the flounces, and the same for the sleeves. Robe corbeille de Flore, upon a Pekin or gros des Indes ground, with garlands of flowers on every flounce, and the ground striped.
Mantle of black taffetas, trimmed with a fringe, and above with a border of silk chenille. Robe of vert celadon, with a band at every flounce in lighter green chine de blanc.
Collar of point à l'aiguille of a new form; one is also worn with skirts, and of which the two points cross in front upon the breast, and are attached by a pin. Robe of taffetas vert Empereur, with sleeves of two flounces, trimmed with a ruche at each extremity.