Emile Pingat (1820–1901), Paris, Skirt and polonaise, 1885. Velvet, beads, silk, glass. Collection of Shelburne Museum. 2010-75
Emile Pingat has taken a page from the 18th century, adapting a classical men’s court ensemble and feminizing it. Instead of breeches that match the coat, there is a long velvet skirt finished with a ruffle. The apparent waistcoat is not a separate garment but instead is constructed as two decorative panels set into the coat. Pingat has updated the style and beauty of aristocratic men’s clothing by adding the small pointed zigzag motif in the embroidery. This one-of-a-kind colonial revival style dress would have been worn to a ball or masquerade with appropriate accessories that could have included a wig, fan, and shoes.