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Corsets and Crinolines - unique vintage clothing

1900 Walking Coat

1900 Walking Coat
This gorgeous garment is made from sapphire blue silk velvet with a wide collar edged with beautifully coloured silk embroidered appliqué, and is lined with butter-coloured silk.
The shoulders are emphasised with very wide loops of the same velvet and what really makes the coat unusual is that it has open hanging sleeves lined with the yellow silk, which are usually seen on garments worn by members of the Imperial Russian Court. This garment was bought from the USA, where so many Russian aristocrats fled during the Russian Revolution.
It fastens with hook 'n eyes down the front, and evidence suggests that it had six large decorative buttons down the front, probably in cut steel or enamel. There are two tags in the coat, one which is hidden inside one of the armscyes, a linen tape marked "1-25-1-0033" which would have been a reference number used by a courtier to mark a design, and a hand-written linen tape in the skirt marked "A.Fay 9830". This may be a theatre tag, identifying the actress who wore it in a performance, or A. Fay may have been the original owner, and 9830 the number of the design/order. Many of the Imperial Russian garments were made by Paris dressmakers, including Worth, so this coat could easily be a French garment made to the Russian taste.
It would probably have had a matching sapphire blue velvet skirt and would have been worn with a long-sleeved, high-necked blouse.
(Milford-Cottam collection)