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Ornate black taffeta bodice. The neckline is very high and has a wrap around taffeta piece that extends down to the center of the bodice into a crepe insert. The insert ends at a taffeta, pleated v-shaped belt that attaches to the left side with three hook and eye enclosures. The wrap around neck piece closes at the back with three hooks and eyes and is adorned with a crepe rosette. The outer neckline is v-shaped and has a fold down collar. The edge of the collar is adorned with layers of pleating, cording, and ruffles which extend all the way down the front of the bodice and bordering the bottom edge. The main body of the bodice has vertical pleats. At the point of the V neckline are two decorative motifs made of knotted and twisted rope and cording in two different circular designs, one above the other. A single hook and eye enclosure is attached to the upper design. Where the belt comes across the waistline there are two more circular designs on either side of the belt on the outside of the bodice identical to the ones above them, but placed horizontally, not vertically. The bottom of the bodice is quite long and has an open space beneath the belt to the bottom hem. The sleeves are three-fourth length and are very puffy. At the bottom of the taffeta section, the sleeves have a wide band of decorations with pleats, ruffles, cording, and two more circular motifs made of rope and cording. Extending from this band are three ruffles of black crepe that progressively get longer. Each ruffle is bordered with black lace. The inside of the bodice is lined with cream colored silk down to the waistline. The rest of the bodice is unlined. There are thirteen hook and eye closures down to the front. There is a small strip of cream fabric sewn across the base of the neckline for hanging up. There are arm shields in both armpits, Attached to the arm shields and extending out to the front of the bodice are two layers of cream silk sewn into a ruffle at the top edge. They serve an unknown purpose. Along the bottom inner edge of bodice there are thirteen small circular weights sewn on. The fold-over collar is rounded in the back and has a continuation of the layered cording, pleating and ruffles around its large border. Extending from each shoulder and down to the center of the waistline in the back is a strip of taffeta ruffles with two lines of cording on top of it. In between the cording are evenly spaced knotted balls of black rope. This ends in multiple layers at the v-point. The sleeves continue their decoration from the front. The bottom of the bodice is quite full in the back with the taffeta being gathered at the center of the waistline. Around the bottom the border of cording and ruffles continues from the front.
"The best, warrented, Kleinert trademark, featherweight, made in the USA. D37" (label in right armpit)
Original to Phillips House (Salem, Mass.),
17 6/16 (W) (inches)
Gift of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation