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The Sun and the New York herald. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1920-1920, March 14, 1920, Section 4, Image 43

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030273/1920-03-14/ed-1/seq-43/

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, IT
flow Spring Gowns to Have
Plentiful Display of Crys
tal Embroidery.
Skirts to Bo long and Clin
ing", With Wide Glittering
Hip Girdle, 1
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
4t 1

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