I don't know if this is classed as a walking suit or is simply a day suit. It should have a label (it is of that calibre) but doesn't. It is a two piece consisting of a long slightly cocoon silhouette skirt (to ankle) and a jacket that is short at the front and dips to a long single tail at the back.
It is made from an aubergine (eggplant) or plum wool, possibly cashmere it is so soft. I did struggle with the colour shifting as i photographed. It shifts in real life. In some lights it is quite maroon plum and in others it heads towards a more damson colour with a tinge of blue.But the best way to describe it is eggplant or aubergine. This is very wearable and strong. But it is also such an amazing example that is very collectible. Please zoom in on the photos as they really do not do this justice. Also i couldn't get fay's extremely bent art in one sleeve so had to photograph at a bit of an angle. Please also keep in mind that some sort of corsetry would have been worn in the day so the measurements might not make much sense except that your body would have been moulded a bit. The skirt: on the face of it, it is cut in an a-line shape. It has a high waist with an opening on the left hip that is on the slight diagonal.
The opening, hook and eyes, stops at the thigh but a fold continues down towards mid shin level where it meets a square piece with geometric embroidery (photo 8, top left corner). Below this is a slit so you can stride out a bit.The fabric is gathered into this square so it makes the skirt hang more cocoon shape if that makes sense. There are weights in the hem to help it hang properly. There is an inner lining of black tissue silk about halfway down. It was full length but had shattered.
The rest may go at some point but it is easy to remove and just wear a slip underneath. There is no outer waistband but the inner waistband is a wide grosgrain piece that doesn't stretch.
The skirt had some major moth damage on the side and back right thigh. It is covered by the waist of the jacket. But i did have a professional tailor remove some of the deep hem allowance and patch the moth damage (see photo 10 top). It is not invisible but well hidden. I don't think anyone could have done better without being a professional conservator.If you wear the skirt on its own, you won't really notice the patches. There are a few surface scuffs on the wool as it is ever so slightly fuzzy but otherwise it is very good. There are hooks and eyes on the lining as well as the outer skirt and they are all strong and intact.
The skirt fit faye quite well. The skirt was nice on her 25 waist and did sit up a bit. I don't know how high the skirt is supposed to sit on the waist but it did look right on faye.The waist measures 25 and the hips 36. The length is 42 inches. The jacket: there is so much detail in this. It is hard to know where to begin. Imagine you have a vest and a cutaway coat over the top. That is what you have here rolled into one. The outer is essentially a cutaway jacket with a single button closure at about chest height. It has a stepped lapel (almost deco in a way) (photo 8 bottom right) and a small sailor collar the the back. Below the button the jacket gently cuts away and curves long around the back hitting at just above the back of the knees.
Undo the button and you reveal the "vest" (photo 2) which most peeks out otherwise which is a bit of a shame as it is fab. It is a v neck cream wool embroidered with almost ottoman influenced shapes. It has a touch of the exotic which makes me think that perhaps this was a suit ordered from someplace like liberty of london. The embroidery is in lamé which has tarnished (pleasingly) and coral silk thread (see photo 9).This does up with hook and eyes and it peeks out just below the button and slightly above it. It hits at the top of the hip bone. The sleeves are fairly straight and slim and they have three buttons at the cuff with a curved appliqué shape that is again quite deco (see photo 8 bottom left). The other interesting detail is the collar. As mentioned there is a slight sailor collar from the back (photo 6).
This can lay flat at the back. Or there are two straps at the neck with decorative gold buckles. You can use one or both across the front of the neck (photo 5) and they snap at the other side.If used, they raise the collar at the back a bit. I would assume you were meant to wear a blouse under this, and probably one with a high neck. The collar with the straps is beyond cool and to me, a bit avant garde. It is my favourite detail on a garment full of fab details.
Finally, the entire jacket is lined with silk satin. There are weights in the hem to help this hang too.
The jacket is in great shape. It, too, was attached by moths on the left sleeve so also has the patch treatment (photo 10 bottom) but it does look very smooth and smart and almost as it was meant to be.
I did spy one tiny hole in the left shoulder of no more than 2mm. Even the silk lining is intact and shows no signs i can see of impending damage. Given this is over 100 years old and silk and wool, probably cashmere, it is in the amazing condition. Store it carefully and look after it and it will have plenty of life in it yet.But keep in mind, it is an antique piece. The jacket felt a bit big on faye. I think it is supposed to hang away from the body at the back. And possibly is not supposed to be mega fitted, but i still felt it was a bit big in the bust for her.
It measures 37 at the bust and 32 at the waist. The shoulders are 14 inches wide. But i do not have access to a model because of social distancing/bubble/lockdown rules. I feel i struggled to do this justice.Please zoom in on photos to see condition. And feel free to ask me any questions. For further information about me and how i do things, please see my faq below or do not hesitate to contact me.