Highlights from the Collection (part 9)

The coat I have hanging over my couch usually merits a remark from visitors. No it's not my childhood Sunday Best... I found it several years ago at a Housing Works in Chelsea. While I casually browsed racks of 1970s-era double-knits and god awful 80s big-shouldered denim, its diminutive, slightly doleful presence stopped me cold. I immediately fell in love.

Mystified as to whether it was dolls' clothing (too big), children's clothing (oddly proportioned) or a costume of some sort (but why?) I couldn't even place what decade it was from (1890s? 1920s? 1940s sewing project?). But since it was more Edward Gorey than Eloise, I happily parted with $25.

This we do know: Much of the stitching seems to have been done by hand (odd as sewing machines go back to the 1860s at least...), the deep maroon mohair velvet is quite stout—almost upholstery weight— and the color seems to differ between the top part and the skirt. The placket (terminology?) is faced with a delicate pink ribbon and all is lined in bright Tiffany box turquoise wool. Finishing the piece are carved mother of pearl buttons although one is missing.

I think of it as my Gashlycrumb Tiny wardrobe prop.

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