Silk Pelisse, Museum of London, c. 1823

A pelisse or pelisse-coat, a kind of women’s outer garment which could be made in everything from the lightest silk to heavy fur. It was worn over a gown but could look like a gown itself, especially when floor length like this garment. The pelisse was made for a trousseau in 1823 for the wedding of the grandmother of the donor.

The intricate decoration is made from rouleaux applied in floral shapes, and trimmed with wire wrapped in silk thread which stands out from the garment in loops at the ends. By the 1820s the high ‘Empire’ waistline is starting to drop towards the natural waist again. The ‘Vandyke’ style of the pointed shoulder pieces are one of the historical clothing references fashionable at the time.