★ Utterly exquisite court ensemble worn by Emily Warren Roebling for her formal presentation to Queen Victoria in 1896. The wife of Brooklyn Bridge engineer, Washington Augustus Roebling, Emily played a significant role in the building of the bridge by taking over day-to-day supervision of the construction during her husband’s lengthy illness. Although she possessed no formal training in engineering, her extensive knowledge of the project led her to make a crucial contribution to its successful completion in 1886.
For high society women (from both sides of the Atlantic), presentation at the British royal court was an incredibly important event which demanded suitably lavish formal attire. Currently housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this gorgeous dress is a wonderful example of its kind and a testament to the opulence of 1890s couture. While young debutantes wore white presentation gowns, as a married woman, Roebling instead opted for rich, buttery gold silk and striking purple velvet. Adorned with delicate silk flowers, this garment’s sumptuous textiles, intricately embroidered underskirt and bodice, long velvet train, metallic trims, laces and ribbons, prove that sometimes more really is more.