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THE SUN AND NEW YORK HERALD, SUNDAY, MARCH 14, 1920.
, IT ASIATIC, OR VAMPIRE, MOTIF THE LATEST IN EVENING GOWNS flow Spring Gowns to Have Plentiful Display of Crys tal Embroidery. Skirts to Bo long and Clin ing", With Wide Glittering Hip Girdle, 1 rv IT" yrra wish to bo fastidious In your usa of words It Is qulto posslblo to explain the Incoming fashion fer evening eowns by calling them Asiatic The popular -word would bo vampire. N'ot that the public Is overly familiar with Mr. Bram Stoker's "Dracula" or hit Rumanian superstition has be. come universal through that particu lar ally's part In the war. Nothing so far fetched brought the word vampire, as noun and verb, Into the common currency of our language; tho "mov s" did It To the furthest etretches of the iwolate routes across this vast conti nent goes the "movie" vampire, and the film Is alone responsible for one of the vivid words of the twentieth century. When one tries to explain, therefore, the sudden new movemont in evening frocks for spring and summer It Is best to epeak In the vernacular. It Is understood. As between Asia and the vampire, Semlramls Is to Theda Bara as the Cambrian marshes are to Main street So will we "ramp" when we wear the new spring clothes. Is tho question asked by men. Will there come about that horrlflo spectacle of tho stout and the middle aged attempting the lmpos flble to be subtle and eolllkc, sensu ous and alluring? Heaven forfend. Ton remember the simpering old co quette wearing fancy dress In "Lord and Lady Algy," who explained that the was "after Reynolds," to which Faversham replied. "God help Reyn olds." No one wanta to see that spec tacle repeated among one's friends out of comedy. The fluttering dove atti tude is bad enough when one is over fifty and too well fed; but the serpent attitude la repelling. Dantteronily Effective Bemlramls certainly tempted men In her Babylonian costumes, although she was fat, undoubtedly, as she was running true to Orientalism, and the hlstorio Impression is that she was not like Theda Bara In appearance, but her Tamplrlsh costumes, while of a different cut and quantity, wore sure ly and dangerously effective. She mar have started even an entirely new fashion for Babylon when she hur riedly went forth half dressed, as legend ttlU, to quell the Babylonian revolt, and certainly Oils episode Is Indicative of her triumph over men, but as a rule she was swathed and wrapped with sparkling ana transparent draperies. That was the Asiatic type of seductive clothing. Was It because aba wore so much white, by the way, that she was turned into a dove when she died, as legend again has It? Strange fate for vampire. Did she like It, we wonder. All of which is Interesting In the light that it Is she and her kind from whom the new evening gowns are taken, and cot from tho modern version of tho vam pire translated Into a symbolic figure, with dark skirts wrapped about the figure, with arms bare and writhing like young snakes. The new costumes are of sturdier build, coming down to us from a more powerful type of woman. Yet they are modified, evn at that to the demands of the day and to the social environment which envelops and protects us. Cap tious critics may retort that this Is the only visible thing that does protect the fashionable woman in evening clotlas. Change From VletorlanUm. The French designers say that in in troducing this abrupt about-face from the pannier of Moxart and the huge crinolines of the Spanish seventeenth century, they are seeking to please the American women; why it is not easy to uy, for last season they Insisted upon our limited purchases and the self-evident fact that Parlslenne and Spanish women of wealth and social distinction were depended upon to absorb their timet ana talent It U more likely to be the truth that the hoopeklrt and pannier, the girdle bodice and uncovered ehoulder, the wreaths of roses and grapes In Baccha nalian profusion have begun to pall on th Parlslennes and on that other lirge and prosperous European set who follow the dictates of Parts without croutng a "t" or dotting an "I." This t has been spending money lavishly with thoughts of brilliant gayety always In their scheme of dally life and they 'asltt upon something new for their money at a season when the French hare always demanded a change in raiment to keep step with the alluring na refreshing French spring. Naturally the Paris dressmakers are sufficiently canny ' to realize that the hunching of a style that might please tho American women as well as the renrh would be excellent business :aclty. They rarely lack that aense. There la a whisper that as France (;cts an astounding avalanche of American tourists between May and November aha really wishes to put for ! the entire product of an enter f'e'ig and Ingenious naUon In a be f s manner, an exhibition that fot raise arguments as to their M'btllty to suit our people. These TJrr.fnts were unceasing last sum 'pit flM Mf f!IM9 1 mer, you may remember, in regard to certain dominating fashions. Probably there is verity m this. It would be the best way to get money. We have It to spend and France needs It Therefore the demand and supply should be arranged to meet. Whether or not the long, dinging swirling kind of frock really pleases the American Is left to the Immediate future. The news Item is that It now appears and Is waiting for acceptance. It offers Itself as a drastlo change from the butterfly futility of the array of frocks that have blown hither and thither over the world since there was a revival of the artificialities of the two centuries that preceded the nlneteentlu Lannrhcd nt Staggering Prices. About these new offerings there Is n vivid suggestion of those thousand dollar gowns built by the Callot Sisters In Paris last autumn. Tho observers were shocked by their price. They were the sensation of the peason. Beforo last August flvo hundred dol lars for one gown was an extravagance which merited gasps and Indignation. A thousand dollars, which was the now price, fell with a dull thud upon tho public's ear. It meant disaster; It was the portent of coming trouble. And tho trouble came on schedule time. As a forerunner of high prices It has Its plnco In sartorial history, this eerles of Babylonian evening gowns shown In the oxquistte Chinese salon of the Callot house on the Champs Elysees. Just there was the beginning of what Law rence Reamer calls the high cost of.no clothes. American dressmakers immediately took up the cue. They vied one with the other to value their gowns at prices that one associated with emeralds and pearls, These exaggerated valuations soon exhausted themselves, tor there was a suspicion that they were used for advertising purposes; yet the entire range of prices, rising on the tide with these sensational ones, has remained at a high level never before reached since the flgleaf was discarded for cloth. Callot, like Polrot haa a weird, an uncanny, way of carelessly throwing a fashion Into the market without unduly accentuating It and the world passes it by with amusement or toleranoe, with out suspicion and never a desire for pos session. Then the world awakes some morning to find that special fashion is In possession of the Held. Over and over are women and commercial Ista fooled In this manner. These Babylonian gowns at a thou sand dollars are not actually copied to-day, tjut they wiggested the use o aparkllng colored crystals to make n frock glimmer and glisten like the Taj Mahal. They suggested the voluminous use of flexible, transparent drapery to cling to the figure, to soften It and en hance It They suggested the high decolletage which merely veils the flesh and covers the arms, with swathlngs of tulle, some times heavily Jewelled after the mnnnf r of high caste Asiatic women. It Is these features of fashion that have now come to pass. Our Interpretation of It. Do not get alarmed at the Introduc tion of Babylonian costumery or the mention of It and see In the mind's eye n collection of .modern women looking like temple dancers or Imitations of P.uth St Den la Even If this should come to pass It may be permissible to way we would not appear much less clothed than at certain times during the last four years, when semt-nudlty had reaohed a state of acceptance that had not prevailed since the days' Im mediately after the American and French revolutions. The draperies then were so trans parent that the managers of the fa mous and stately Assembly Balls In Philadelphia requested a lady of high degree not to array herself for any future ball in the type of costume which had created a scandal at her last pub lic appearance. Philadelphia eoclety then led the American continent and it took this breach of the decencies, as It was termed, with as much seriousness and Indignation as the boulevard crowd took tho lack of clothes of Mme. Hamelln when she was dressed, according to a French Journal of that time, "as a Roman lady, but not unlike one of those matrons whose principal attire was their native modesty." The influence of the recent four years has reduced resistance. It would seem, to transparency In women's drees. One can be sure of this by going through the by ways and hedges to see how easily people adopt certain revealing fashions that had been taboo for a century. The entire world adjusted itself to this state of affairs In evening dresa What was onco considered scandalous was, and Is, considered merely fashionable. Aotually the new spring gowns are not as shocking to the average observer as the topless bodices and the knee length skirts' that soon bcamo common place in this country after their sensa tional Introduction during the war. Even the most strictly conservative of women's Journals, that once would not permit a decollete frock published on Its pages, now permits a frock that Is guiltless of any material whatever above the bust So time flies. Sparklinr Crystals Prevail. Here are the salient points of the new style as It has come before our vision this early In the season. First and chiefly t A plentiful play of colored crystal embroidery, the kind that Is translucent and sparkles like Bnow when It falls through sunlight or a half faded rainbow over the ocean. There are a few frocks so extreme In this fashioning that they could claim kinship to the one worn by Mme. Alda in "Marouf." Another dominant feature 'a the hip girdle, wide, sinuous and glittering, and the slim, straight line between the shoulders and hips which disregards the normal waistline. The long cling ing skirt Is also a part of the scheme, one that Is definitely longer than the flounced and bunched-up skirt which has found favor in the eyes of the public for a year. There la a signifi cant point also In the sleevca, which actually cover the arms to the wrists in some frocks; the baro arm with the V-shaped opening beneath it to the waist la threatened with extinction. It was Grecian, and wo are not to he Grecian. As a concrete example here is a gown of the new type: Gray tulle over silver tulle with a chiffon foundation; great clusters of opalescent embroidery done with facetted crystals and what we once called nshscales; tho decolletage of the bodice not extending more than five Inches from the base of neck; the full sleeves covering part of the hand and wrapping the.Tflelves around the arm between shoulder and wrist showing splashes of gleaming crystals from el bow to wrist Babylonian Bendtnir on Serge. The lining to the bodice, built of sev eral layers of tulle and chiffon, does not extend but half way up the figure, and the upper part of tulle, arranged In two layers, Is so plastered down on the skin that lt.glves the semblance of flesh, softened, veiled, made artistic There Is a truly gorgeous girdle of the spark ling beading about the hips, from which drops a swathing skirt that trails on the floor at the back, but Is rather short In front and at aides. The stock ings that go with the frock am opa lescent and the brocade heeled sandals are Jewelled. Such are the component parts of a modern Babylonian evening gown. The details' differ In each two frocks. Un doubtedly the fashion will have grow ing Influence as the season progrewes. losing probably Its Initial direction, but not losing In momentum. This idea of splashing translucent beads and glittering scales on clothes may have preceded or. followed the Aslatlo evening frock. It was sprung on Paris In February, which seems to prove that it followed Callot's attempt to create a Byzantine atmosphere earlier In the season. The Introduction of Jewelled gaiters with brilliant frocks was the first strong originality that emphasized the fashion. After that came the exhibition by dress, makers of serge, tricot and taffeta frocks heavily garnished with sparkling bits of crystals. Velvet basques appeared with flickering lines of these glass bits, In de sign, running down the front and edging the sleeves. Embroidery In silken floss well nigh disappeared bofore February arrived, although stltchary, especially In lattice work design and done In cotton threads, will .continue to rule Informal gowns and hats. It Is not quit according to our ideas of fitness that a colored cloth frock should bear on Its surface a mass of colored beads and glittering flsh scales, but no doubt we will accept It. after argument as recently we accepted the use of padded silk roses on dark blue frocks, and later a light design of Jet sequins. Mnther-of-pearl has been quickly caught up Into the whirlwind of this new fashion, as It fits into the scheme of things with startling adaptability. It has exactly tho right opalescent tones. It suggests all the fairy tain lore of our childhood, sparkling tales of Arabia and That the emphasis will be laid on the hips there la email doubt In the minds of the dressmnkers of spring clothes. They see In the evening gowns that this fash Ion has sufficiently vital force to spread Itself to all types 01' costumes. The low ered walstllno Is expected to rule. It Is an easy way to disguise the thickness of the modern waist and It Is a definite reversal of the Victoria, Second Empire or Louts XV. silhouette, whichever you choose to call It Such a change Is what dressmakers ardently desire a reversal of a prevailing style. With It In their hands, however, they are not quite sure of Its power to imposo a different con-, tour on the mass of buyers, so here In America, as there In Paris, a medley of fashions is presented for every woman's choice at the opening of a new season. The single new development that runs like a scarlet thread through the exhibi tions Is this Babylonian contour, the translucent beading with scales and the high docolletase without lining. It Is the fashion set oy Callot and Mad eleine et Madeleine last August In direct opnoiltlon to a world full of hoopsklrtt, crinolines, pannier?, Victorian scalloped flounces. It was greeted with tolerance and amusement. .ow-wlll It wlnl i '"1 4t 1