Just like the ladies of Downton Abbey, Charleston women chose dresses that were stylish and smart. The ones shown here depict that fashionable era.
White cotton marquisette (mesh) dress, c. 1910-15, with fabulous embroidery, lace insertion and covered buttons made and labeled by dressmaker “Mrs. DeWitt / 5 West 31st Street, New York.” It was worn by Mrs. Washington Augustus Roebling who was Cornelia Witsell Farrow (1866-1942) of Walterboro and Charleston. She married the Brooklyn Bridge engineer after his first wife died in 1903. Her first husband, Ashby Starke Farrow died in 1896.
In 1928, Cornelia returned to Charleston and bought 64 South Battery. Though she probably wore this dress before moving back here, it would have been perfect for a warm spring evening overlooking New York or Charleston harbor.
The blue dress, c.1910s, has a blue chiffon overlay, covering an amazing underdress of pink velvet with corded cutwork, beading and lace insertion. The chiffon shimmered over the dress and this technique appears to have been very popular. It added mystery and delicacy to the garment. Though we do not know who wore this beautiful dress, it came to the Museum in 1940 from Mrs. D. R. Kirk of New York City.
TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection. Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday