The Edwardian Era was the period from about 1901-1910, during the reign of King Edward VII. I have seen it extended a couple years sometimes to include the years leading up to World War I (sometimes as far as 1919), however I like the nice round 1910 number. Although... for this year I could extend it to 1915, because that was exactly 100 years ago- also a fantastic round number!
I was initially struck by this gown, made in 1903 by the House of Worth (founded by the father of couture, Charles Frederick Worth. This dress was created a few years after his death, but the House was still the leader in couture fashion.).
|The Oak Leaf Dress, 1903|
The leaf decoration is what grabbed me first. Oh my goodness!! The embroidery! The ruffles! The leaves! The waistline! The shoulders! I am absolutely smitten with the dress... so I did some more research on it.
The woman it was made for is relatively fascinating in her own way. Mary Victoria Leiter was born in 1870. Her father was one of the founders of Marshall Field and Co, an upscale department store, later acquired by what is now Macy's. So that's pretty cool right there! She was eventually introduced to London society and at the age of 25 (my age!!) she married George Curzon. Eventually, Curzon was appointed Viceroy of India, which made Mary the highest political position ever attained by an American woman to that point (1899). They were well-respected in India, and Mary was renowned for her fabulous taste in fashion as well as being a patron of the arts and a pretty decent agent for the Indian textile trade. Sadly, after a long illness Mary passed away at the age of 36 in 1906.
As for reproducing this dress... it's going to happen at some point. It's absolutely stunning and looks like a fabulous project! Mine will have to be a different color though- yellow and I do not get along. I'm thinking a blue or a sage green...