May 31, 2016

Book Giveaway & Review: The House of Worth: Fashion Sketches, 1916-1918 from Dover Publications


These days we're used to seeing and thinking about a whole host of world famous designers and fashion houses. Even if we don't own a single piece from any of them, most folks are at least familiar with a handful of such and we've come to think of their presence as part and parcel to the world of style.

Such was not always the case though and the invention, if you will, of the modern fashion house as we would recognize and acknowledge it today is relatively new. Unquestionably one of the first and most influential early players in this sphere was The House of Worth.

Founded in France in 1858 by Mr. Charles Frederick Worth, a highly regarded and skilled dressmaker who had previously been employed by some of the top tailors in the UK and France, the House of Worth hit the ground running, by offering exquisitely made and deeply beautiful haute couture clothing. As time went on, the company would grow to include ready-to-wear fashions, as well as perfumes.

The House of Worth provided fashions to some of the most affluent, wealthy, powerful - and powerfully dressed - customers in Europe and the world as a whole. From stars of the stage, such as Sarah Bernhardt, Nellie Melba, and Jenny Lind to European royals, old money and new, and those trying to climb the social ladder alike, The House of Worth had an impressive clientele and provided stunning pieces to all of them (including both wedding gowns and costume party ensembles).

In its original iteration, The House of Worth remained in business until 1952 (the brand was revived again after more than four decades of laying dormant, in 1999), with Charles Worth's heirs taking over the company after his death in 1895.

It was under the leadership of Charles' sons, Gasteon-Lucien and Jean-Philippe, that The House of Worth experienced the Edwardian years, and it is the tail end of this very period that the book at the heart of today's post focuses.





The House of Worth: Fashion Sketches, 1916-1918 from Dover Publications is a unique and enchantingly beautiful soft cover book that includes 125 watercolour and ink illustrations, all of which were originally produced by The House of Worth.

That alone would be enough to make any vintage fashion or historical costume fan go weak in the knees, but this book is so very much more. Woven through its many fashion illustration filled pages, one is greeted with an excellently written - and very engaging - historical account of how these drawings (and some accompanying fabric swatches, which are pictured in photographs in this book) came to be in the possession of the Litchfield Historical Society located in Litchfield, Connecticut.

Readers are introduced to the well-to-do ladies, Julia Chester Wells and Mary Perkins Quincy, respectively, who received the drawing as a catalog of sorts that highlighted new offerings at the time, from the House of Worth during the 1910s. Throughout the book, their fascinating lives are opened up to us so as to help us get a better sense of what the typical American House of Worth customer was like back during the brand's heyday.

I've read more books on historical fashions over the years than I could ever count, and can honestly say that this is one of the most unique and appealing approaching to profiling the history of a company, its customers, and its products alike that I've ever had the pleasure of encountering.

The Litchfield Historical Society has done a marvelous job in helping to preserve the history of The House of Worth through these Edwardian era fashion illustrations, just as Dover Publications has done by teaming with them for the creation of this 144 page book, which was published in August 2015.

There is so much to enjoy and admire about the fashions created by The House of Worth. They were pioneers in the field of both haute couture and high end ready-made clothing alike, and unquestionably, they helped to pave the way for many other similar companies, some of who are still in business to this day, that would follow.

If you have even the slightest interest in yesteryear fashion history (and chances are, if you're reading this post, then you definitely do), than The House of Worth: Fashion Sketches, 1916-1918 is for you!

The awesome folks at Dover Publications have very kindly offered a copy of this book to one lucky Chronically Vintage reader. Read on to find out how you can win (they're are plenty of ways to enter and the giveaway is open internationally).



Giveaway details:


This giveaway is for one copy of the soft cover book The House of Worth: Fashion Sketches, 1916-1918 from Dover Publications from Dover Publications. It is open to readers (participants) worldwide and will run from today's date (Tuesday May 31, 2016) until 11:59 PST on Tuesday June 7, 2016.

The winning name will be drawn using Raffle copter's random winner tool once the giveaway has wrapped up and the winner will be contacted via email shortly thereafter. Your book itself will be shipped out to you directly from the fine folks at Dover Publications.

You may enter using however many of the following ten different Rafflecopter methods you desire. The only entry that is mandatory is that you please leave a comment on this post in which you share with me one or more of your favourite elements of Edwardian era fashion.

The more ways that you enter, the greater your odds of winning become. If you have any questions about this book giveaway, please don't hesitate to email me anytime.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


♥ ♥ ♥



Edwardian fashions, be they the simplest of garments or the most elaborate and expensive produced, have always spoken to me, and getting a chance to read The House of Worth: Fashion Sketches, 1916-1918 was a true joy that left me yearning all the more for a time machine (and a Vanderbilt's pocketbook!) to the past.

Sadly, such isn't possible, but we can immerse ourselves in the history of such care of marvelous books like this, and I truly want to thank Dover Publications for teaming up with my blog to offer a copy of this terrific title to my readers (as well, they've very kindly extended a 25% off coupon code, WFBJ, which you can use on their website to save 25% off on all orders until the end of June).

Many sincere thanks, and best of luck as well, to each and every one of you who take part in this fun vintage fashion book giveaway!

43 comments:

  1. What a wonderful giveaway! That era of fashion is so elegant and graceful and so much less busy than Victorian. My favorite Edwardian-era outfit is the one Theda Bara wears in A Fool There Was with the black and white striped skirt and black jacket.

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  2. One word. Titanic.

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  3. I love the Edwardian ladies fashions with the large hair, large hats, very small waists and very graceful long skirts. The men's fashions were elegant too. In the UK King Edward VII was quite a leader of fashion and his wife Queen Alexandra certainly was, enjoying the same adulation as Princess Diana. Her style was avidly watched and copied. When I am treasure hunting I often come across amazing hat pins that are very long. They had to be to anchor the sizeable hats. The beautiful accessories - parasols, umbrellas and canes were lovely and were usually carefully matched to an elaborate ensemble. If I had lived then, Jessica, I would hope to have had a ladies maid to help to tighten my corset and help me to dress! Best wishes , Elizabeth xx

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  4. Ah, La Belle Epoque... So perfectly embodied by the Gibson Girl.... A new era heralding promise of new sartorial possibilities for women... High-necked blouses with a jabot or tie set off with a pin or brooch which was born again in the late 1970s. As was the topknot with soft curling tendrils of hair..... Very feminine and romantic....

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  5. This looks like an awesome book! For me the Edwardian era is all about the hats! Big and full of feathers. :) Thanks for the giveaway!
    -Emily

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  6. What fun fashion sketches. Edwardian fashion is so interesting as it transitions into the twentieth century. I'm sure this book is full of eye candy to all vintage fashion lovers.

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  7. The Edwardian era & the 1910s are some of my top favorite styles. I especially love the transitional period before the 1920s (1915 & 1916 specifically, I love the fuller, a-line shape of the skirts, works great with my figure). Thank you for offering this giveaway!

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  8. not quite my era but does sound very interesting good luck to all

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  9. What an incredible book! I just love that the book sounds so detailed about history as well as even giving such beautiful details of sketches which includes fabric swatches! Incredible! Of course my favorite part of Edwardian fashion is the amazing hats!!!

    Rebecca
    http://www.winnipegstyle.ca/Blog/

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  10. This is such a fantastic giveaway and also, thanks for sharing this brilliant post with us, dear Jessica! I love to know about designers from the 19th century, and the House of Worth seems to be or was :) excellent! And dressing stars like Sarah and Nellie, wow, really impressive! I like when there's something consistent like a book, in a world where people give more importance to material things and not to culture - and a book is always a book! Hugs and regards!
    DenisesPlanet.com

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  11. The House of Worth sounds like a fantastic book! I love the Edwardian hats and jewelry. It's amazing the stories accessories can tell :)

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  12. Oh My. What a beautiful book. The Edwardian era is undoubtedly one of the loveliest periods in fashion. So elegant. I'm getting all fluttery and first season Downton Abbey-y just thinking about it.

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  13. Wow! What an incredible book!!! This is so cool because if you search books on say, Amazon, you have no idea what you're in for exactly but you laid this out pretty thoroughly! Thanks! XO
    Lauren-Blair
    www.prefertobedemure.com

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  14. I always learn so much about fashion-related history from your posts! ;-) Thanks for sharing this! :)

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  15. I love the fine attention to detail, from the structure and lines of a garment to the seaming and embellishment. And don't even get me started on jewelry and accessories.

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  16. The Edwardian era always reminds me of the Titanic and a time when fashion turned to a sleeker silhouette. It was the turn of the century when anything was possible. I love this era just like the Victorian and Art Deco time periods. What's not to love?

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  17. I love the fitted dresses and the hairstyles. Gibson girl is one of my personal favorites. I wish I had more excuses to wear it.

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  18. What a wonderful book, Jessica. I've been reading Nicky Albrechtsen's Vintage Fashion Complete (quite a hefty volume), and am planning to read up on the individual eras in more detail. This book will surely go on my list. Many hugs, Ann xxx

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  19. I studied Worth at fashion college and absolutely fell in love with his style. I came across an unopened bottle of Worth perfume about 15 years ago from the 50s and just had to buy it. It's in a Lalique bottle and comes with the original box. I'd love to have it valued now as I paid practically nothing for it!

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  20. Oops, forgot to add that my favourite thing of Edwardian clothing is the menswear as womenswear. I love that women began to wear ties! xx

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  21. I love their use of lace, but then I love to look at all the Edwardian fashions, wearing them, not so much though.

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  22. What a fabulous giveaway! I love Edwardian fashions, and the way that they changed through the war year and moving into the 1920s. This looks like a wonderful read, I'll have to keep my fingers crossed!

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  23. Ooooh! That looks like a lovely book! I love fashion sketches, as they impart a drama and mood that doesn't come across in photographs. I love the Edwardian era as it was one that was a bit more relaxed than the stiff Victorian era, and yet still completely elegant. There was no loss of attention to detail with the fashions, even though they were more relaxed.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    The Artyologist

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  24. Oh awesome. I fell in love with Worth's Victorian era dresses years ago and have a soft spot for them still. I think I love the all white Edwardian looks the best. They are just so striking. And hats you could store a toaster in, of course.

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  25. Hello, my dear, dear Jess.
    First thing that comes in mind when we mention Edwardian times, is: LACE. Everything had lace on. There were those elaborate collars with hand-made lace trimmings (and to know that it took over two months for a young gal to make that collar, with her fingers trembling over the delicate material, by the candlelight...). Call me a hopeless romantic, I won't fight it :)
    Another thing (and, this is not so fashion-oriented) - walled garden. Back in those times, it was a peak of garden perfection. Oh, the architect of houses had NOTHING on the landscaping masterpieces done by the Head Gardeners! Mixing walk-over apple trees (only half of meter tall - indeed) with elongated and elegant roses that climb over hand-crafted iron arches. Mixing a simple carrot, potato & cabbage plot with color-bursting sea of flowers.. and then putting a statue right in the middle of all that. A place called Heaven, to me!
    ..and Manor House, naturally. You can't write about Edwardian times and NOT mention the Head Butler and the Milk Maid. :)

    M.

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  26. What a wonderful book, and one that I had not previously happened across before (which in itself is a bit of a wonder, as I spend so many nights getting lost on Amazon, haa ha!)
    My favourite element of Edwardian fashion is the surface decoration and femininity that oozes out of practically every stitch. I also love the complete contrast between 1920s fashion, and the Edwardian fashions of only a mere 10 years previously - I find that utterly fascinating. Hoping you are well Jessica, thank you so much for running a fabulous giveaway! Good luck to everyone that enters!
    Jenny xx

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  27. I love the feminine twist and the elegancy! :)
    Jenna O

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  28. I personally adore the Gibson Girl image, the amazing long hair, and I love the silhouette of little girls at the time (which is the most flattering on my personal body type, but impossible to find for adults). I also happen to love ribbons and lace, which were big at the time.

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  29. Oh this looks wonderful! x

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  30. For being really interested in about everything vintage and fashion history, I don't really know much about the Edwardian era. It hasn't exactly been my favorite. But I have to say that I like the narrower silhouette in the skirts after the bustle period. While I may not like the styles in general, I do love the femininity of the clothes.

    Sarah
    www.sewcharacteristicallyyou.com/blog

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  31. That's my favorite period of fashion: what an awesome book!

    Gina Weeks

    Gina.Weeks@aol.com

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  32. I love the long tailored skirts and the sturdy, leather, ladies walking/adventure boots!

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  33. I love the dress sleeves from the Edwardian period.

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  34. This isn't really my favorite fashion time period but I love learning about the Titanic and also Downton Abbey. My favorite element would be the delicate beadwork on the dresses, but I also like the walking suits.

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  35. I would so love to add this book to my library!

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  36. I love fashion history and this would be a great addition to my collections of books on this subject.

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  37. the Hats! I love how they are "in" now too!

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  38. I love the shape of the gowns and the different styles.

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  39. I love how feminine the Edwardian era was, such beautiful clothes. I am always fascinated by how soft and romantic the dresses look, but underneath the women are wearing such stiff and unyielding undergarments. Such contrasting pieces of clothing to create the look!

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  40. I just got to this post !
    ;)

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    1. I understand, dear Lorena. Fear not! While this particular giveaway has now wrapped up, I've got another (repro clothing related) one come down the pipeline next week that I'm super stoaked about it and that I think you might really like, too.

      Big hugs & many thanks for all of your great blog comments today,
      ♥ Jessica

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  41. Sounds like a great a great! So fun that you are able to do these kinds of giveaways!

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    1. This book really is a fun, informative and absolutely gorgeous read. I can't recommend it highly enough to any vintage/historical fashion fan.

      Thank you, honey! It is a joy to be able to hold frequent giveaways for my wonderful readers - including the brand new one that just launched here today starring the chance to win the dress of your choice from the online e-tailer 1950s Glam - and to work with so many awesome companies around the world. I never take such for granted and am always genuinely touched when someone wants to collaborate with me and my blog.

      Big hugs & many thanks for all of your great recent blog comments,
      ♥ Jessica

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