200 years ago in January 1822, Ackermann’s Repository provided detailed guidance for the ever so fashion conscious woman of the day to wear.
A high gown composed of bright rose-coloured levantine; the bottom of the skirt is trimmed with a broad bouillonné of the same material, above which is a flounce edged with velvet to correspond and disposed in a scroll pattern; there are two rows, each turned the same way, and a rouleau of levantine placed between. The body meets in front: it is ornamented with straps placed bias, and each furnished with a Brandenbourg; the back is plain, and extremely narrow at the bottom. Spring collar, trimmed with a full fall of the same material. Sleeve moderately wide; cuff cut in the three points, finished by Brandenbourgs. The epaulette, for which we must refer to our print, is extremely novel and pretty.
Headdress, a demi-cornette composed of Urling’s lace; the caul is something higher than they have been lately worn; narrow border, made very full. A bouquet of roses is placed rather far back. The hair is parted so as to display almost the whole of the forehead and is dressed lightly at the sides. Black kid shoes. Limerick gloves (Maria Edgeworth wrote in her ‘Popular Tales’ a story about such items. You can find out more here).
A white satin round gown; the bottom of the skirt is trimmed in a very novel style with blond intermixed with white satin. The corsage is cut low and square; the bust is edged with a plaiting of satin, and the lower part of it is ornamented in front with satin edged with narrow blond and disposed in a scroll pattern. The sleeve is a mixture of blond and white satin; the former full, and confined by lozenges of the latter, the point of each finished by a Provence rose; the bottom of the sleeve is confined by a band to correspond. White satin sash, embroidered at each end in a bouquet of roses, and tied in full bows and long ends.
Headdress, en cheveaux. The front of the hair is parted to display the forehead and falls very low at the sides of the face in light loose ringlets. The hind hair is disposed in plaits, through which a wreath of Provence roses is carelessly twisted. Earrings and necklace diamonds: the latter is a negligé. White kid gloves, and white gros de Naples slippers.
We are indebted to Miss Pierpoint of No. 12 Edwards Street, Portman Square, inventress of the corset à la Grecque, for both these dresses.
Although it’s not possible to establish exactly when Miss Pierpoint began trading, it is known that she was trading until 1818 at Southampton Street, then moved to No. 9 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden.
Interestingly, No. 10, the property next door was occupied by the bankers Austen, Maunde and Tilson, of whom Jane Austen’s brother, Henry was a partner, with Jane staying here with her brother in 1813 and 1814, so it might just be feasible that she knew of Miss Pierpoint herself, if only be reputation, as she was clearly well known to the nobility and gentry, even though Miss Pierpoint didn’t move to Henrietta Street until after Jane’s death. 9 Henrietta Street is still linked to fashion, as it’s home to Fred Perry, Covent Garden branch.
We know that Miss Pierpoint moved to Edward Street, in 1822 from where she continued to successfully trade for many years. Catherine was actually married and described herself as a widow in her will but traded as Miss Pierpoint. She died in 1849, whilst still living and trading from Edward Street.
Many of images of Catherine’s fashions appeared in the Ladies’ Monthly Museum and more images can be found via this link.
The Repository of arts, literature, commerce, manufactures, fashions and politics by Ackermann, Rudolph, 1764-1834