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Silk Wedding Dress

Material, English; style, French; bride, American
This yellow silk gown brocaded with white and multicolored flowers was worn by Catherine Livingston for her New York City wedding to Stephen Van Rensselaer on January 23, 1764. Known as a "sack back gown." The gown, with its matching petticoat, was worn over stays and oval hoops. Stays were stiffened with whalebone, wood, or metal and constructed to shape the upper body into an inverted cone. The high back of the stays pressed against the shoulder blades, reminding the wearer to maintain the desired posture. Her father, Revolutionary patriot Philip Livingston, had provided the dress material. During a visit to London he had bought three bolts of cloth, one blue, one yellow, and one pink, from which to fashion wedding gowns for his three daughters.

Custom-made, probably partially draped and cut on the wearer; hand-sewn
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