Press Pictures

Wedding Dress, Worn by Bessie Pardee Van Wickle, 1882

Bessie Pardee Van Wickle’s Wedding Gown, 1882

In September 1882, Bessie and Augustus Van Wickle were married in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.  Bessie’s gown was made for her by N. G. Kirkbride in Philadelphia: it is a two-piece dress of bodice and separate skirt; the fabric is ivory silk faille and is heavily embroidered in silk floss with daisies, Bessie’s favorite flower.  The skirt is further embellished with knife-pleated silk and a cascade of fine linen bobbin lace (the same lace adorns the bodice).  The skirt back has a bustle and a train, and is lined with pleated ‘petticoats.’

Conserved by ConText, September, 2012

Beaded Evening Dress, Worn by Bessie Van Wickle McKee

Beaded Evening Dress worn by Bessie Van Wickle, 1904

Beaded Evening Dress, worn by Bessie Van Wickle, 1904

This one-piece beaded evening dress was made by Bessie’s favorite couturier, Fox of Paris & New York, around 1904.  The bodice is ivory silk lace over pink silk bobbinet, with black silk shoulder trim.  The sleeves are of ivory cotton net with bobbin lace appliqués and ivory silk chiffon.  Both bodice and sleeves are embellished with gold sequins, beads, and appliqués.  The belt is of gold folded organza.

The skirt has panels of black and ivory silk lace, with pleated layers of black silk bobbinet at the hem.  There are three layers of silk bobbinet – pink, blue, pink – two layers are self-trimmed with ruched edging, the third has a knife-pleated hemline frill.  The skirt is embellished with the same gold sequins, beads, and appliqués as the bodice.

Conserved by ConText Inc., 2014

Silk Taffeta Day Dress, Worn by Bessie Pardee Van Wickle, c1895

Silk Taffeta Day Dress, c1895

Silk Taffeta Day Dress, c1895

This two-piece day dress is made of peach silk taffeta with ivory silk organza, made by Bessie’s favorite couturier, Fox of Paris & New York, around 1895. The taffeta is constructed using pink and yellow silk to give it a shimmering effect. The leg-o-mutton sleeves have silk organza cuff ruffles and the taffeta cummerbund waist detail has a self-fabric bow in front and a matching smaller bow at the collar back.  The gathered silk organza bodice fronts have applied beaded panels. The lined skirt is constructed of ten shaped panels, with fullness concentrated at the back and with interior tapes to hold the draping in place.

Conserved by ConText Inc., October 2014

Three-Piece Winter Afternoon Suit, 1920

Three-piece Winter Afternoon Suit, 1920

The three-piece green and black velvet afternoon suit (blouse, jacket, and skirt) belonged to either Bessie Pardee McKee or her daughter Marjorie Van Wickle Lyon. It was designed and constructed by Fox of Paris and New York, favorite couturier of both women. The green silk velvet jacket is loose-fitting with black silk velvet collar and cuffs and is lined with ivory silk satin. There are 3 black velvet covered buttons with corresponding loops at the neck; and fourteen rows of applied black braided trim embellish the side back panels of the bodice, along with seven black velvet covered buttons on each lower side panel. The black silk velvet skirt is flared and has seven black velvet covered buttons down each side. The waist-length blouse is constructed of two layers of bottle green silk chiffon embellished with metallic embroidery. The sleeve cuffs, waist sash, bodice back and front panels are of draped black silk velvet. The lining is ivory silk net and ivory silk gauze.

Conserved by ConText Inc., October 2016

White Cotton Summer Lingerie Dress, Worn by Marjorie Van Wickle, 1900

White Cotton Summer Lingerie Dress, 1900


Marjorie’s one-piece floor-length summer dress is made of white cotton lawn fabric embellished with heavy white cotton embroidery, cutwork, pin-tuck details, lace, and corded trim appliques. The high-collared, heavily embroidered bodice is partially lined with cotton netting. The waistline seam is hidden by a pleated silk waistband which weaves through vertical slits in the dress and closes at center back with hooks and eyes. Buttons at the dress back extend from the collar to the hipline, and the back skirt hemline forms a slight train. Full-length under-sleeves and shorter over-sleeves are embroidered and trimmed with white cotton crochet lace and cotton corded trim appliques.

Conserved by ConText, Inc., February 2015

Marjorie Van Wickle's Party Dress, 1903

Marjorie Van Wickle’s Party Dress, 1903

Marjorie Van Wickle’s Party Dress, 1903 Marjorie Van Wickle had this party dress made in Vienna when she visited in 1903 as part of her Grand Tour. It was designed and constructed by Drecoll’s, the fashion house founded by Austrian-born Baron Christoff von Drecoll in 1896. The company specialized in creating elaborate evening dresses, and was known to be a favorite designer of the ladies of the Imperial Viennese court.

Marjorie’s shell-pink silk chiffon dress consists of a separate skirt and bodice. The long, full, gored skirt has a slight train, and the center-front panel is embroidered in a stylized daisy design with thick silk floss, sequins, beads, and vertical pleats of silk chiffon. The rest of the skirt is divided into five tiers trimmed with horizontal inserts of embroidered bobbinet lace, and pleats of silk chiffon. The lining is trimmed with a matching pleated hemline flounce, backed with a pink taffeta ruffle. A wide chiffon hemline ruffle is stitched to the lining.

The bodice has a wide rounded neckline and short puffed sleeves and is embroidered to match the skirt. The cotton foundation of the bodice is stiffened with 13 bones, and the grosgrain interior waistband bears the maker’s name, “Drecoll – Wien, Paris.”

Conserved by ConText Inc., February 2017