Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The "Emma"

Hello all, Bridget here. Just stumbled upon my dream dress designer, Claire Pettibone. While drooling over these beautiful gowns I came across “Emma”, an empire style gown that reminded me of our own “Emma”. In our collections we have a classic empire style gown donated to the museum in 1987 that we have come to call “Emma” (based on Jane Austen’s work that has been popularized through film) as well. The gown is from ca. 1820’s and was worn by Rachel Morgan, daughter of General Jacob Morgan, when she was married in Philadelphia. The gown is entirely hand-sewn and is made of out white “spotted” muslin with a silk taffeta under dress, a rare survival. Claire Pettibone’s contemporary gown is described as a “dusty rose and pewter embroidered empire silhouette with flowing blush silk and tulle skirt”. These two gowns show how this simple yet flattering silhouette has survived over several centuries. To see more of Claire Pettibone’s designs go to her website at or on her blog at

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