Ball Gown

Emile Pingat, Paris, France
Date: c. 1867
Maker: Emile Pingat, Paris, France
Materials: Silk faillle, silk tulle, and seed pearls

Labeled on waistband: E. PINGAT / NO. 30 RUE LOUIS LE GRAND

Provenance: Mary DeCamp Corning purchased this dress on a trip to Paris around 1867. She was the wife of Edwin Weld Corning, the son of Erastus Corning I, who was the president of the New York Central Railroad and mayor of Albany.
Credit: Gift of the estate of Maurice Moore, in memory of his wife, Mary DeCamp Banks Moore
Accession Number: 1972.95.2

This coral silk ball gown was designed by the Parisian fashion icon Pingat, one of the most prestigious and successful designers in the second half of the nineteenth century. It is adorned with a row of ruched pink tulle and satin-trimmed tulle tabs that add detail and dimension at the hem. Lace, tulle, beads, and seed pearls decorate the large bow at the back of the waist, ending in broad streamers. The tulle and satin trim is repeated at the neck and short sleeves, creating an elegant gown with Pingat's usual attention to decorative detailing. Fashion-conscious women such as Mrs. Edwin Weld Corning, who owned this gown, subscribed to Balzac's notion that only those who visit Paris can achieve true elegance.