Worth Gown Up Close

The Oregon Historical Society recently had an exhibit of some of its treasures, Treasures From The Vault. I wandered around the exhibit and saw lots of neat stuff – a console from the Hanford nuclear plant, an amazing old stove with painted tiles, Governor Kitzhaber’s Levi’s, and a beautiful wedding dress created by the House of Worth.

The wedding gown was worn by Nancy Moale Smith when she married Charles Erskine Scott Wood in 1878. They had 5 children together but their marriage ended in scandal in 1910 when Charles left her for a younger woman who was a suffragette and poet.

The gown is silk with beautiful pleats, ruching, and other decorative details. It’s tiny – people were shorter and smaller back then.

The train is stunning – I imagine it took a great deal of work to create.

Detail of Worth wedding dress
The pleated front is beautifully done. The feathery looking decoration looks like shredded silk but I’m not sure. It was great to see this beautiful old gown here in Portland – we’re not exactly a society kind of town.


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