The elegant trousseau and wedding dress prepared for Miss Vanderbilt in 1877 has claimed so much public notice of late that we have taken special pains to lay the details of it before our readers, who may be glad to profit by the useful suggestions afforded by so many tasteful toilettes. Several dress-makers have claimed the credit of making it, and various journals have spoken of it as imported from Paris. The latter rumor arose from the fact that a description of the materials woven in Lyons for the bride's dress was given in the Bazar (No. 43, Vol. X.), and was copied by the Paris correspondent of the London Queen. Although the fabrics are necessarily Parisian, Miss Vanderbilt did not import her dresses, but preferred, with commendable patriotism, to have them made by an American modiste, Mrs. Connelly, whose fine styles are frequently quoted in our columns, and through whose courtesy we were allowed to inspect the trousseau.
The wedding dress was the handsomest seen in New York since that of Nellie Grant, which was made by the same modiste. It consisted of an empress train and corsage of the richest brocaded white satin, with an apron of plain satin nearly covered with lace, pearl passementerie, and bouquets of orange blossoms. The lace, said to be the finest of its kind ever brought to this country, was point applique, bordered with round point, and ornamented with medallions of point de Venise. The front of the brocaded corsage was a round waist, with a wide belt formed of five satin folds fastened by a bouquet; the neck was high behind, with a standing collar, while the Pompadour square front was filled in with lace, on which was laid pearl points embroidered on tulle. Below this were the clinging satin front breadths, on which three deep flounces were laid diagonally and headed by satin folds and the beaded trimming.
These flounces began high on the right side, descended to the first seam on the left side, where they each formed a point to hold a bouquet, and thence sloped upward, trimming elaborately the left side gore that is more plainly seen than the right side, which is next the groom in walking; across the foot of the three plain satin breadths was a deep satin flounce shirred in clusters, with a bouquet in each space between the shirrings, and this flounce fell over a knife-pleating of satin that edged the dress.
The empress back, beginning with five long seams at the shoulders, sloped smoothly low over the tournure, whence the rich brocade formed a court train, cut in very deep leaf points, under which were five rows of satin knife-pleating. The back was three yards long, yet the flowing breadths were not looped, but fell in easy graceful folds. A long deep panel was formed down the middle of the train with lace and pearl passementerie. The sleeves were long duchesse shape, made entirely of the transparent lace, with two ruffles falling on the wrists, and held by a cluster of blossoms. The graceful train was supported by a fan made of two gored breadths of crinoline from the waist to the end, shaped like the skirt, and covered with flounces of muslin and lace; this fan was sewed in beneath the train, and moves with it. A small bouquet was in the left corner of the square neck, and another high on the right side. The lace and pearl trimmings on this dress were so rich that but few flowers were used, and these, according to the newest fancy, were all in bouquets instead of long garlands. The veil of lace, combining Venice and round point, was fastened with orange flowers.
Among the richest of the evening dresses of this outfit was a dress of sulphur-colored brocade combined with plain gros grain, and trimmed with wide Valenciennes lace and tulle embroidered with pearls; the train was ninety-five inches long; the sleeves were of white chenille in open square meshes held by pearls. A handsome costume with a jacket to match, for the street, was of plum-colored brocade and velvet, trimmed with bands of silk and velvet; a large gold buckle fastened the belt of this corsage, and another held up the drapery in the back. A visiting and reception dress was of maroon velvet, trimmed with wide bands of cocks' feathers of the same shade. A second rich costume was of black brocaded silk and plain silk.
One of the handsomest house dresses was a black silk made in princesse shape, with transparent sleeves entirely of mordore beads, alternating with clair de lune; one side gore was also covered with this beaded trimming, while the scarf apron fronts crossed each other and were fastened on one side of the train. A bouquet of dark red damask roses with buds of the yellow tea-roses is worn at the belt of this dress. For morning dresses was one purely white wrapper of India cashmere, trimmed with marabout feathers and Mechlin lace; a second wrapper had a train of pale gray camel's-hair, with front of pink silk, trimmed with Valenciennes lace; around the train was a band of gray ostrich feathers holding pleatings of pink and gray silk.
The dress in which the bride's mother accompanied her daughter to the altar was pearl-color, with an apron of gros grain, a brocaded Pompadour basque, and long princess back with flowing train. Three curved rows of duchesse lace, in which were medallions of round point, entirely covered the apron breadths, and were caught on the sides with bows of silk finished with tassels of strung pearls. The square neck was trimmed with lace and pearls fastened by a cluster of pale pink roses. The train hangs in folds without being caught up at a single point; it is trimmed up each side with lace, and across the bottom with pleated and gathered flounces; the sleeves have lace inserted their whole length.
The bride's sister, Mrs. Shepherd, wore ciel blue brocaded silk with postilion basque, and flowing train with revers, while the plain blue silk front of the skirt was trimmed with a garniture of velvet embroidery, representing olive shaded leaves and pink blossoms that looked as if painted on the silk; below this rare needle-work was lace in rows held by pink rose-buds.
Another sister, Mrs. Sloane, wore cream-colored armure silk, with the train cut in deep points on pleatings of satin, while the sides and front were concealed by panel trimmings of Valenciennes lace, headed by embroidery in which gold and pearls were introduced; the sleeves were entirely of Valenciennes lace; down one side of the dress were sprays of red and tea roses, while the train was held on the opposite side with a jabot of satin loops and lace. A more youthful dress for a younger sister not yet in society was of white gauze embroidered with leaves, and trimmed with embroidered scalloped flounces and puffs of plain gauze. This dress had a deep round apron over-skirt caught up high on the left with white roses and satin ribbon loops to show satin pleatings on the skirt; down the other side were sprays of roses and buds. The pretty postilion basque had a satin belt in front fastened on one side by a bow of ribbon with long ends.