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C. 1900 pink pleated gown (CA 473)


C. 1900; Donor: Lydia Davies Johnson Billings; Worn by Sarah Oliphant Coonley (married to William Watkins Davies II)

The pink c. 1900 gown was donated by Lydia Davies Johnson Billings (d. 1997). The gown was worn by her mother, Sarah Oliphant Coonley Davies (b. 1874). Lydia resided at Huckleberry Hill Road with her husband, Clifton, during the time that they lived in New Canaan. Lydia was an active member of the New Canaan Historical Society.

The gown consists of three pieces- two tops (although only one is featured here) and a skirt. The pieces are made of pink silk embellished with lace, net, and sequins. A striking feature of the dress are the small pleats that run the length of the skirt and bodice. The pigeon-breasted bodice is a sharp indicator of the time period in which the gown was worn, and features a silk rosette offset from center of the neckline. The back of the bodice showcases lace crossed in a X, and the waist and sleeves are decorated with small metallic sequins that would have glittered in the low light.

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