Evening cape

About this object

Over a simple, black-beaded evening dress this floaty, flattering cape works perfectly. It is made of georgette, a lightweight, plain woven sheer silk fabric, to show off the sparkling glass beads of the dress beneath. The deep turn-over collar and the lower part of the cape are decorated with applied ruffles of black silk. These were sewn on by hand and close inspection of the reverse of the cape reveals the neat hand-stitching of the dressmaker.

This cape was made in house at Cripps, Sons and Co, in the workrooms on the top floors of the premises. Cripps was a high-class ladies' outfitter on Bold Street, then known as the 'Bond Street of the North'. John Cripps founded the company in 1836. In 1841, the shop moved down the road to 12-14 Bold Street. Fraser's Guide to Liverpool later noted that these new premises:

'...by their extent, tasteful arrangements and decorations, are ornamental even in this town of commercial palaces.'

At Cripps, wealthy women were shown sample garments and had the clothes they chose made-to-measure. When Emily bought this cape in the late 1920s, Cripps was still offering the ultimate in retail therapy and remained one of her favourite shops.
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