The “coming dress” Bazaar at Kensington (1891)

The “coming dress” Bazaar at Kensington

The peep into futurity offered by the ladies of the “Rational Dress Association” at the Kensington Tow Hall leads one to the melancholy reflection that its members have a good deal of work to do before they will persuade all their sisters to be rational. If locomotion, or restless activity, be the ordained lot of the woman of the future, the less impediment she finds in her petticoat the more easy will be her walk in life; and the “Domestic Hurricane” may find some excuse for scudding with bare poles. Short of this necessity, we fail to see the grounds on which the lady champions of rational dress base their cause. The serviceable dress worn by Lady Harberton, shown under advantages which few members of the society can rival, and the really tasteful dress of Lincoln green worn by the lady who presided over the Fishpond, were perhaps the only costumes which had any pretensions to being at once practical and becoming.  The majority of the ladies, young and the reverse, would have been effective at a fancy-dress ball; but we may be quite sure that, in selecting their costumes for such an occasion, the same ladies would have given more heed to the “teachings of nature,” and would not have revealed the public gaze certain details over which fashion can, if required, spread a very impenetrable veil. The “Eiitto” – presumably a phonetic, or rationable way of spelling eyelet-hole – is a muddy-weather dress, and might have its raison d etre in Devonshire lanes or on Scotch moors and it is satisfactory to be told that the “Syrian skirt” has solved some of the difficulties of lady cyclists. But ladies are not likely to change their ordinary ways of dress because some few of their sex wish to qualify themselves as amateur pedestrians or to compete in cyclists’ tournaments. At any rate, the exhibition was a pretty sight, and it deserves to be marked among all such bazaars and fancy fairs as the only one on record where the stall-holders faithfully adhered to their promise to pester no one to make purchases. Let us hope that the Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants did not suffer on account of the stern adherence of its advocates to their promises.

The “Coming Dress” Bazaar at Kensington, Illustrated London News, April 18, 1891; pg. 499