Evening Dress, 1884–86. American or European. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of Mrs. J. Randall Creel IV, 1963 (C.I.63.23.3a, b) | The bustle, which took hold in the 1870s, was at its most exaggerated extension by 1885. At its extreme, it was almost perpendicular to the small of the back. It was a popular conceit that the cantilevers of these bustles could support an entire tea service. #OneMetManyWorlds
Dinner Dress: ca. 1886, American, silk. "The bustle silhouette, although primarily associated with the second half of the 19th century, originated in earlier fashions as a simple bump at the back of the dress, such as with late 17th-early 18th century mantuas and late 18th- early 19th century Empire dresses. The full-blown bustle silhouette had its first Victorian appearance in the late 1860s, which started as fullness in skirts moving to the back of the dress."