WERE it not for the Fashions, where should we all be? Where would Trade be? Where would the great Professors of all the great London Dressmaking and Millinery establishments be? To what would Paris, Manchester, Wood Street, Cheapside, St. Paul's Churchyard, and similar sanctuaries of the Goddess, worshipped of women, turn their attention.
Fashion rules the world. It matters not who rules Fashion; though we have frequently put that "poser" to Readers of these pages. It is pretty evident to our mind that Fashion, as in matters of law and courtly-etiquette, is mostly ruled by Precedent. We have repeatedly noticed, of late years, that the London fashions of our time, are but a revival or adaptation of London fashions of a time gone by. For example, the high rolled-shoulders of the ladies' jackets lately so conspicuous, are but a copy of similar ports of a most hideous coat worn by the "bucks" of Bond Street in the early years of the present century.
It has been truly said that in order to experience the real zest of being fashionible one must have been born unfashionable. Extremes meet. A fine flavour lurks in the surpassing of others when one's self has been surpassed. New fashions never originate among old families, and they are the last to be moved by the currents of change; but they do yield gradually to the innovations of the clever, audacious people who have pushed themselves up into circles in which they are at first disavowed, and which they end by governing. Society without les nouveaux riches tends to stagnation. It grows dull and dreary. Everything is taken too seriously, and when everybody and everything is highly proper and respectable, there is nothing to laugh at; Rich aspiring people, anxious to get on in the world and live with the best are a real blessing. They lavish their money on their houses, their furniture, bric'd-brac and pictures; they give costly feasts; they dress superbly; the secret dread in their hearts that they may fail in some nicety of etiquette makes them punctilious; and they are the most good-natured and obliging people in the World, hospitable to a fault.
It is for these people, who sometimes act by deputy in the arranging of dances, dinners and balls and the issuing of invitations, that Fashions are made and books of etiquette written. Some fancy of dress approved by some queen of society somewhere; some extravagance in furniture or decoration; some finical rule of good manners, is a sacred law to them. To drive solemnly about, leaving sheaves of cards at different houses, is a delightful occupation. The tasks, the thankless fatigues, of women familiar with Society from their childhood, are to them real pleasures. To entertain five hundred people, and have the list of notable persons present published in the morning papers (Oh, blessed Morning with all our names in type!), is a labour which finds the sweetest rewards.
London being the centre of the world's civilisation, in which, as it is needless to remark, Fashion fills an integrant and by no means inconsiderable part, its Temples are very freely distributed throughout the area of the great city. A cynic might, perhaps, be disposed to say that they are more numerous, frequented and popular than any other temples to be found within its limits. Regent Street, Bond Street and Piccadilly are almost wholly given over to them; Oxford Street will be found to comprise not a few; and in most of the thoroughfares westward, the most conspicuous and attractive buildings are those where Ladies congregate to pay their respects to the Sovereign Queen, and to make themselves acquainted with the decrees from time to time issued by her ambassadors, ministers and agents.
Messrs. Lewis and Allenby (Conduit Street and Regent Street) are among the oldest-established Silk Mercers of London whose reputation has run for at least fifty years. A survey of their window, on the west side of London's most fashionable thoroughfare, cannot fail to discover much that is tasteful and attractive.
At the western end of Conduit Street, having adjoining premises in Bond Street, the house of Redmayne and Co. may be found, likewise long and favourably known to the grand dames of the grand world. Here you may inspect many novelties in the shape of costumes, ball, dinner, and bridesmaids' gowns, mantles, velvets, satins, lace, etc., and all other the necessary complements of ladies' attire. The opportunity will be afforded of choosing a gown from displayed models imported from Paris: and if you insist on what we, in newspaper phraseology, term "the exclusive right," why you may purchase that right, say in regard of some "perfectly lovely" dress of which any rival or other unworthy competitor would find it extremely diflicult to find the duplicate in London. Thus for a stipulated sum you might enjoy the distinction of appearing at Ascot, in the Park, or at the Opera, or in the ball-rooms of Mayfair, without the apprehension of anywhere meeting a dress similar in design to your own: an undoubted privilege and one not to be under-estimated.
Messrs. Marshall and Snelgrove , of Oxford Street, is another firm of first-rate repute, having a large and fashionable clientele among leaders of society.
In Wigmore Street, a few minutes' walk from the main thoroughfare of Oxford Street, turning down through Vere Street (westward from Regent Circus), is the extensive establishment of Debenham and Freebody , long-established, and favourably known as wholesale and retail mercers and drapers. The reputation of no firm in London stands higher. Its name has been familiar to Londoners for the best part of half a century. It deals in every article of ladies' dress that may be taken as comprised within the trade-designation of the firm: silk-mercery, dress-making, millinery, etc, etc.; and, like other of its competitors on a large scale, includes within its general business upholstery, decorative-work, art-furniture, and so on. The customers of this old-established house include many of the best families in the kingdom; and it has also a very considerable American connection which, seeing that American ladies are somewhat exigeant, and not too easily accommodated (our somewhat constrained and old-fashioned ways of transacting business across the counter not precisely according with the ways of New York and other American cities), bespeaks the desire of the firm to meet the requirements of every class of customers which honours them with its support. Dehenham and Freebody's is one of the principal shopping resorts of London of To-Day, and may be commended to the nolice of ladies as among the most reliable and likely in providing anything of which they stand in need, from grand dress for the Queen's "Drawing-room" to a simple suit of tweed for walking purposes; material in the piece or material made-up; silks, satins, velvets, furs, shawls, bonnets, ribbons, lace, linens, kerchiefs, embroideries, and the rest. A thoroughly trustworthy firm, Ladies, every way.
Not far from Debenham's, at No. 43, Wigmore Street, is Donegal House, the depôt for Irish Industries, supervised by Mrs. Ernest Hart. It makes a speciality of Irish homespuns, poplins, hosiery, lace, napery and household linen, handkerchiefs, embroideries; and is both ready and competent to undertake the best class of work in the way of trousseaux, layettes, and ladies' outfits for India and the Colonies. This establishment has received the direct patronage of the Queen, Princess of Wales, and other members of the Royal Family, and has earned quite a reputation for Irish linen-goods.
By the way, we see that a trade journal devoted to the interests of warehousemen and drapers, has been expounding the Art of Shopping; mainly, however, from the shoppers' side of the counter. The great secret, it appears, is "to be cool, and never anything but cool." A lady of much experience in the art has been heard to say that there is no excitement or variety in shopping nowadays, nor room for the display of diplomatic tact. It is, she thinks, the system of chiffres connus (as the French say), the practice of exposing goods plainly priced, that has robbed shopping of its charm and pleasure. But we are told that there is still plenty of enjoyment to be got out of "a drapery expedition," provided the ideal lady shopper has no foolish compunction about giving trouble, and will cultivate a coolness of manner that overwhelms. As regards "giving trouble," the advice is, we are assured, altogether uncalled for. "Did you find what you wanted, dear?" one lady was overheard to ask another. "Yes," was the reply, "they had it in seven different shops." "Let me see it," said the first lady. "Oh! I didn't buy it," was the reply.
Of course there are many places in London where ready and extreme attention will be found, and a just recompense in kind for the value of draft, or the contents of the little inner-pocket of a purse. There is Shoolbred's, for example in Tottenham Court Road, and in the most popular of the general retail stores of London; for mercery, drapery, millinery, dressmaking, furninshings, provisions. There are Harvey Nicols Co., of Knightsbridge; Gorringe's of Buckingham Place Road; Wallis and Co., of Holborn Circus; Tarn of Newington Causeway; the Bon Marche, so-called, at Brixton; and, of course Whiteley, of Westminster Grove, the principal attraction of whose establishment is its vastness. For the privilege of moving about in this vast emporium of retail commerce, ladies will journey from the uttermost ends of London.
North of Hyde Park, on the east side of the Edgware Road (Nos. 150-153), a short distance from the familiar Marble Arch is the large retail establishment of Messrs. Garrould, arranged on the plan of Shoolbred's and similar places, where everything may be purchased in the way of ladies' dress, millinery, silks, satins, lingerie, hosiery, bonnets, cloaks, jackets, boots, etc.; and every concievable thing for the household in the shape of furniture, china, bric-d-brac, and so forth. Messrs. Garrould (2)
For "Mourning" (a depressing topic to touch upon, in this generally and careless work), there is no better authority in London than Jay of Regent Street — Jay's, whose unmournful facade sometimes shows so brilliantly in the rare sunlight of a May morning at the Oxford Circus end of the leading thoroughfare. We have seen some beautiful costumes displayed at Jay's during professional visits made to that establishment for purposes of this chapter: deep-mourning, half-mourning, quarter-mourning, one-eighth-of-an-inch mourning; lovely white-and-black; or vlolet-and-white; or pure white with rich bead-embroidery. On the whole, this is far and away the first establishment of its class for this description of ladies' dress to be found in London.
At the International Fur Store (Regent Street, No. 163), or at the lesser establishment on the east side of that thoroughfare, under the same proprietorship, you may buy anything you require in the shape of Furs, from a 1,000 guinea coat or cloak, lined and faced with gennet, black in colour and low in price. Midway between the two, you may have a choice of ermine (now again in vogue), astrakhan, seal-skin, silver fox, mink, beaver, bear, Thibet-goat; seal-skin to our mind, well-dyed, well-chosen and well-fitting, most becoming of all.
Few things need a greater exercise of discretion, we are told, than the purchase of a garment in seal-skin. One that may look infinitely desirable at a low price will probably prove to be made of pieces, the fag-ends of whole skins. The second winter will show up its fragmentary character in a way that is certain to disgust the purchaser. It is impossible to detect the substitution of pieces for whole skins, since the jackets are never seen unlined, so that the joins are never visible. The only safe plan, for the unskilled in furs, is to place themselves in the hands of a good firm such as we name with a character to lose; and it may be taken for granted that the International Fur Stores is not to be lightly trafficked with, that way.
Mr. Cook's (Oxford Street, 148) is an old-established business in the same line.
Shawls being in some respects akin to furs, at all events as regards relative cost, and usefulness, we may conveniently call attention to the place of Messrs. Farmer and Rogers (now under direction of Messrs. George Giilley and Co.: the former many years the firm's London representative), whose speciality lies in Indian Shawls. Here, if you will, you may buy Cashmere shawls of superb quality; shawls of Dacca manufacture; Rampare Chuddas; Indian, Tusseh and Corah silks, and Melida cloth for dresses; Dacca muslin; China crape shawls, and embroideries, and Eastern productions for dress purposes of all kinds.
Garrard's, in the Haymarket, are the great silversmiths and jewellers of London. Theirs is the place where Royalty, aristocraty, and the very wealthy go to make their choicer selections for birthday and wedding commemorations; and we should say that, for grand services of plate, race and yachting cups, etc., they stand supreme in England. This firm has been goldsmiths and jewellers to the Crown for fifty years, and a very interesting account might be written of its history. Elkington's collection, Regent Street, is also a very instructive exhibition; as also is Lambert's, Coventry Street, hereinafter referred to.
Some very pretty and tasteful things in the way of jewelry may also be seen at Mr. George Edward's, 62, Piccadilly, at the corner of Albemarle Street; and for what our recommendation may herein be worth, he has it, as at once courteous, obliging and ever-ready to render any civility to strangers. Originally of Glasgow, and later of Poultry within the confines of London city, Mr. George Edward has been long and favourably known in his branch of trade; and there are few matters connected with it, in which he is not an expert. Visitors at Brown's, St. George's and the Burlington, and adjacent hotels of the Piccadilly and Bond Street locale, will find his place conveniently near.
Lace, the most delicate and elaborate of textile fabrics—"real lace" — has always been a luxury coveted amongst women. An important branch of civilised industry, "machine-made lace," has now reached so great a perfection that many are content with this, in place of the expensive old kinds, which used to be a necessary part of a lady's wardrobe. Those who still desire to have the triumphs of old design and taste, may obtain fine old lace of every kind from Blackborne, 35A, South Audley Street; and of Hayward's of Oxford Street; Irish lace at 43, Wigmore Street (Donegal House).
It is unnecessary to say that, in a capital where Fashion's wealthy, there is abundant opportunity for gratifying every personal taste, caprice, or whim in respect of style, make and material. You may simply copy the fashion, or you may succeed by a little ingenuity in leading it. If you are modestly content to follow, you may have your wants supplied at any one of a score of different shops open to the eye in any leading thoroughfare. If you are a little more ambitious and propose to lead, you might, perhaps, take counsel of some one or other of the Leading Dressmakers — Kate Reily, for example, of 11 and 12 Dover Street; or Miss Helen Metcalfe, of 11 Hanover Square; Mrs. Mason, of New Burlington Street; or Miss Viney, of Holies Street; who are somewhat reserved in displaying dresses of their invention.
Among the many eslablishments at the West End of the town, opened by a lady for the behoof of ladies, is Madame Kate Reily's of Dover Street aforesaid (Nos. 11 and 12), Her establishment on the east side of the street, noticeable from without for its modern facement of red-brick, and general architectural neatness, in respect of its internal economy, is very thoroughly looked after. Madame Reily herself supervises every detail of the management, and it is satisfactory to record that her work-people have the advantage of her personal oversight, which, judging from what we have seen of the Dover Street establishment, is productive of beneficial results in the way of comfort and wholesome conditions of work for her employes. Considering the conditions under which some trades are to-day carried on, this is a point worth noting, and should appeal to the practical sympathy of women. Dress-making is a fatiguing labour at best; and it is well to know that is pursued under the most favourable conditions at Kate Reily's establishment.
The results we have been taught to expect in the "ladies for ladies" scheme, to-day not uncommon in London are, — a nicer discrimination in the matter of dresses, robes and gowns; a more pronounced "personality" in their selection (by which we suppose is intended the adaptation of the style to the individual); and less dependence upon Fashion, simply because Fashion happens to have the upper hand. Very excellent ends to be attained.
One purpose in going to the Dover Street establishment (if you are in New York you will find its counterpart in Fifth Avenue, 277, or in Chicago, at 1305 Michigan Avenue, is to be advised. The fashions are all here direct from Paris — the materials, the satins, the silks, the laces and embroideries and of course the Lady-principal herself. What is it to be? This dress is for the Drawing-room; that fur a ball at my Lady So-and-So's; the other is to figure on the lawn at Ascot; a fourth is of the colour and fashion of a dress worn by a beautiful and exalted personage at the last garden-party at Marlborough House; a fifth forms part of the trousseau of an American belle presently to be led to what we were wont to call "the hymeneal altar," say in the dingy, yellowy, old church in Hanover Square — a very beautiful display that only a lady's pen might do justice to. With you, it is all a matter of present requirements and of money. With Madame Kate Reily it is all a matter of style, of finish, and of effect; albeit the incidental pecuniary consideration will be taken due account of in the negotiation. This lady-dressmaker is of the first reputation in London.
Madame White and Madame Elise, of Regent Street (under Madame Rita's skilful management, a name assumed by a dame well known in society, Mrs. Heron-Maxwell); Nicole; Madame Oliver Holmes; and Worth & Co., of New Bond Street (134); are not indifferent to the advantage of publishing their several vocations to the world at large. Their shop-windows are set-out in the usual way with tempting examples of costumes, gowns, embroideries, laces, and so on, of the latest and most approved style: Worth's displaying evidences of the nicest discrimination.
Those, however, who are imbued with, what is said to be, the supreme feminine passion, thrift, will not have recourse to the Leading Dressmakers. Each of these has some well-recognised distinctive merit; but the style of their establishments, their expensive models, and the number of their employees put cheapness out of the question; except in so far, that the best articles are generally allowed to be the cheaper in the long run. If a Court dress is required, or a dinner- or day-gown "out of the common," as ladies say, perfectly finished, and of the newest fashion and materials, the purchaser should not hesitate, but go to some one of the best Dressmakers or leading West End firms; presupposing, however, that she is prepared to pay for the fit, style and finish she may rely upon obtaining.
Madame Swaebe, of New Burlington Street (9), has extensive show-rooms. In the course of the Season every novelty in Court, Wedding, Evening, and Morning Gowns are to be seen here. prepared not only for dwellers in England, but for Americans and sojourners in India and our many colonial possessions, where this lady has established an unrivalled reputaiion.
It is to Hamilton and Co. of Regent Street, we are told, that ladies go for those triumphs of needlework, smocked frocks and smocked tea-gowns. But it is by no means only in so-called artistic dresses that the firm excel. A French dressmaker ensures good fit; and some of the most beautiful materials with which Morris's name and those of leading French firms are associated, have been made up here into gowns.
Madame Kenvin, in William Street; Madame Dust, in Brook Street; Miss Durrant and Madame Marie Carroll, in New Bond Street; Madame Fesla, in Carlos Street; Madame Cecile, in Devonshire Street; Madame Maynier, in Wigmore Street; Madame Boubong, in Conduit Street; Madame Durand, in Orchard Street; Mrs. Stuart, of Somerset Street; Miss Ellis, of Queen Anne Street; and Miss Kates, of Hinde Street, come under the classification of leading Chamber Dressmakers. These all have customers among women in what is known as "the very best society." Madame Antonine, Court Dressmaker, of 21, Brook Street, who shows excellent taste, should also be named.
Cresser, in George Street, Hanover Square; G. Sykes, 24, Hanover Square, who has a reputation for tailor-made gowns, jackets and ulsters. Colonial outfits, visiting- and evening-gowns, trousseaux; etc.; and Whittingham and Humphrey, in Cromwell Place, are among the many firms where men devote their energies to the fashioning of women's dress.
In the department of Millinery, women of rank are found ready to traffic; and what more dainty occupation for any woman? Kerr, in Duke Street; and Regy, in Baker Street, are names in which well-known women of fashion carry on Millinery establishments without any effort to conceal their own. They have hitherto managed to secure the latest novelties as quickly as, if quicker than, those long established in the trade; and their customers have the advantage of knowing that they not only possess the taste of a highly-cultivated lady, but from their social rank must be cognisant of what is worn by those, who, if they do not make the fashions, decide in their own persons what is "good form." Madame Le Breton, Wigmore Street; Mrs. Courtenay, Oxford Street, — are other gentlewomen of good family and position similarly occupied. Madame Lili, another star in the fashionable world, pursues the same calling in Grafton Street with success.
Mrs. Edwards, of Hobart Place, is one of many private millinery businesses patronised by well-dressed people. Among the leading shops where bonnets and hats are sold are Brown's, in Bond Street. They have a style of their own, and "quite English, you know"; in which respects their hats find much favour with the smartest people of the day. Brandon, whose inspirations hail principally from Paris, has an establishment in Oxford Street which is worth the notice of all ladies who desire to appear in the mode. Mrs. Phoebe Smyth, of Regent and Bond Streets; Madame Gautier; Asser, of the Burlington Arcade; are to be named as noteworthy among such shops for ladies.
For ladies' gloves, Frederick Penberthy, of 390, Oxford Street, has a reputation. As a good deal of discrimination is shown to-day in their selection and costume-adaptability, and the matter of their fit is become a nice point with most ladies who bestow attention upon dress (and what lady of to-day does not?), it may be found useful to note the address of one, among others in London, who gives special attention to this sweet article of commerce.
There is a pretty verse of Ben Jonson's, by the way, familiar, doubtless, to gentlemen who, in the manner of his late Majesty George IV., treasure these reminiscences of ballrooms, balconies, and other eligible places of seclusion, which might suggest the generous replacement of a borrowed glove, buy a dozen of Mr. Penberthy's very best Paris six-button kid, deftly laid in a box, duly inscribed and perfumed. The verse and the borrowed glove might lie on the top; then who knows what might happen?
For dresses for walking purposes, Redfern of Conduit and Bond Streets (with branch houses at the yachting-station of Cowes, in the Isle of Wight, at Paris, and in New York, has probably the first reputation in England, At all events, he may fairly claim to be the originator of the "Tailor-made" dress for women: and he deserves generous praise for the design, for there is hardly an example of women's costume worn, more sensible in its method or pleasing in its appearance. Uniike most other fashions, it has now held its own for years: the fact being that no dressmaker in the world ever succeeded in improving upon the natural contour of the figure of a young and graceful woman. And even for ladies no longer young or graceful, these tailor-made dresses are far more sightly and pleasing to the eye, than huge bundles of draped silk or satin; if women would but believe that ces messieurs, their natural enemies but honestest and most impartial critics, thought thus.
For Ladies' Riding-habits, there is no firm more favourably known than that of E. Tautz and Sons, of 85, Oxford Street (south side towards, and not far from, Hyde Park). It has long maintained a high reputation for everything of account among gentlemen in the hunting-field and military men; as breeches, coats, boots, leggings, over-alls, cavalry pantaloons, knickerbocker breeches and so forth. There is a Department attached to its larger establishment, where a lady measurer and fitter is employed, whose particular business it is to wait upon lady-patrons. This has, for many years past, devoted its sole attention to this Special branch of trade; and in it has few equals in England. Whitaker (of Conduit Street, 43); has also a firsl-rate reputation for ladies' habits.
Apropos of such costumes last season the firm of Wolmers-Hausen, 34, Half Moon Street, Piccadilly, brought out a very pretty riding-habit, cut after the Newmarket shape, but adapted to the saddle. This habit is very becoming, as it takes off the severe outline of the figure, which is unavoidably noticeable in the short cut habits; and, in addition to this advantage, it is much warmer. At 24, Half Moon Street, ladies will find every convenience and comfort in fitting-on. The ladies' department is under the personal superintendence of Miss Wolmershausen, who shows excellent judgment and taste in everything pertaining to dress for women. This, a lady correspondent informs us, is the original firm of Wolmershausen, unconnected with any similar firm in London or elsewhere.
There are other makers of men's clothes who are proud to cater for the fair sex: Busvine; Smith; and Smalpage (of Maddox Street); Macdougall (of Sackville Street, 42); Fisher (of Regent Street); Hulbert Beach (of Sloane Street); whose gowns and cloaks put in an appearance at most of the fashionable gatherings in London, and the smartest house parties in the country.
At 13, George Street, Hanover Square, is the Ladies' Department of Mr. J. W. Doré's business, a place where all the more recent fashions in the shape of Habit-cloths, coatings, and "Tweeds" for ladies' gowns, jackets, coats, and ulsters may be inspected. His is among those leading houses at the West End which make a speciality of tailor-made costumes. It devotes a good deal of attention to the business of following the fashions in that item of women's attire, discovering an excellent taste in "Tweed" dresses for travelling wear, and braided gowns in silver, gold, copper, bronze, etc. For coats, cloaks, "Ulsters," and such like necessaries of railroad and steamboat travelling, Doré's is a firm that may be confidently recommended. His prices too are fair and reasonable.
Samuel Brothers, of Ludgate Hill, have a popular reputation for certain classes of work, among which, ladies may be glad to know, boys' clothing is included. We write from experience when we say that we do not know of any place in London where boys may be "rigged out" more economically or expeditiously. They also have a large general business as outfitters, in which is included a department for ladies' jackets, coats, riding-habits, etc.
For under-linen of the best kind, Mrs. Jane Mason (the firm now carried on under the auspices of Messrs. Marshall and Snelgrove); Blackborne, of South Audley Street, Mrs. Marsh, in Sloane Street; and Edmonds and Orr, of Wigmore Street, are among the leading providers.
To know where to buy good and neat boots and shoes is another useful point of information. We cannot do better than advise ladies who wish to see the neatest and prettiest things in these necessaries of life and locomotion, to have recourse to Hook, Knowles, and Co. (66 and 65, New Bond Street, who have the first reputation in their special line in London. They are largely patronised by American ladies, who next, perhaps, to the French, display the greatest taste in such matters.
Box, and Co., of 187, Regent Street, and H. Kelsey, 482, Oxford Street, are also in the front rank of their craft, patronised by persons of social distinction, who devote some attention to smartness in shoes and boots.
For Riding-hats, and such other examples of head-covering as Ladies affect, fashioned on those commonly worn by men, you will find Henry Heath's, 105-107-109, Oxford Street, a good place to go to. He is particularly enterprising in inventing and making the lightest and easiest hats for ladies' wear, in silk, velvet, cloth or felt.
Articles of dress made on hygienic principles are to be obtained of Mrs. Franks in Mortimer Street, W.; boneless stays, woollen under-garmenls, and dresses cut to prevent any undue pressure in any part of the frame, or any weight from the shoulders. "One of the most difficult questions to decide," a lady writes âpropos, "in choosing a new oulfit of under-clothing (in this most uncertain climate), is, as to which is really the most suitable in manufacture and best adapted to wear, having regard to the constant changes of weather. After personal experience I have found there is no better material for underwear than Cellular Clothing,' as it is open in texture, light, and warm.
This clothing is well adapted for the weak, and those who require or prefer warmth without weight." The cellular clothing, it may be added, can be procured at 417, Oxford Street, "where every convenience is offered for the comfort of customers." Thus our fair correspondent.
For all the false tresses and necessary additions to the coiffure, Lichtenfeld of Great Castle Street; Bond, of Oxford Street; Duke and Rumball, of Old Bond Street; and Sobocinski, of Sidney Place, Leicester Square, may be consulted. If the hair is needed to be dressed, singed, shampooed in addition, there are Truefitt, Douglas, Unwin & Albert, and others.
For perfumes a leading firm is that of Bailey, of Cockspur Street, near Charing Cross.
In Regent Street, Bond Street, and other thoroughfares, innumerable articles de luxe may be seen and bought. No lady-visitor will pass the establishments of Liberty & Co., of Regent Street, treasure-houses of fancy. English ladies owe a good deal to the enterprise of Liberty, who taught them how to decorate themselves, their children, halls, drawing-rooms, boudoirs, and bed-rooms, at a cost within the means of the most moderately-endowed housewife. Why, half our London suburban houses are furnished with advertisements of Liberty's enterprise! peacocks' feathers, coverlets, curtains, fans of every variety of hue and shape, bric-d-brac oddities of every kind; pretty and the reverse; Oriental mats, rugs, chairs, tables, tea-cups and -pots, and we know not what else. Our own modest drawing-room is replete with Liberty wares, so that personally we would fain occasionally find less restraint in moving hither and thither, albeit the eye is sufficiently satisfied, and every one doubtless save our own splenetic self.
The Æsthetic Gallery , 155, New Bond Street, is now a recognised centre in West End London, for the sale of artistic textile fabrics of Home manufacture. Mr. Goodyer was the first to take up and develop this branch of trade. Its success may be recognised by the way in which well-known leaders of fashion have been led to further the idea. At the Æsthetic Gallery new and special manufactures are coastantly being introduced which cannot, we are told, be obtained at other houses. Among the principal specialities exhibited here might be mentioned the made-up goods, including cushions, table covers and centres, lamp and candle shades, etc. No similar collection can be seen at any house, either in London or Paris. All Ihe articles are made entireLy by hand on the premises, by a specially trained staff of needle-women. Ladies can have their own material made up, and particular attention is given to matching the colours in old brocades and embroideries. At the time of the National Silk Exhibition in 1890, Mr. Goodyer was personally complimented by H.R.H. the Princess of Wales, on the beauty of his fabrics. The visitor will generally find some charming examples of work, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and French, which it would be difficult to match for richness of colour and excellence of design, Mr. Goodyer's tasteful collection is well worthy the inspection of the critical; and there are few places of the kind in London more likely to captivate ladies.
At A. Stephens & Co. (Regent Street, 322-326), will be found a very dainty exhibition of lovely "Art-stuffs," in which fine colourings and designs show conspicuous; suitable for Ballgowns and evening-wear, alike for adult persons, and young people. Their taste, both in materials, and cosmetics, is generally admitted by leaders of the higher fashion to be unexceptionable. Mistress "Ardern Holt," one of the pseudonymous authorities of the well-known Queen newspaper, a lady who is good enough to advise us on many matters in this present chapter which we think likely to be of interest to our Readers, assures us that A. Stephens & Co., aforesaid, are not excelled anywhere for such "lovely stuffs," as tend to make the dresses of the Drawing-room, the Dinner-table, and the Ball-room, bright, charming, and effective. By the like presents and from the same contributor we are reminded of the high reputation enjoyed by Duvelleroy , of Regent Street (167), for Fans, though we may honestly admit previous knowledge of the fact. A most interesting, nay, delightliul exhibition is his; comprising rare old treasures of the kind dating from the times when the Pompadour held sway, and including Fans of finest laces, carved, inlaid, painted, etc., of a more modem period.
For pretty things and useful things in the way of artistic needlework, you might try the Royal School of Art Needlework at South Kensington, having a depôt on a smaller scale at No. 174, Regent Street. Its collection of novelties of every kind in this department of work is of first-rate merit; so indeed are its exhibits of tapestries.
For cambrics, damasks, linens and such like articles of the household, you might have recourse to the firm of Walpole Brothers, of 89, New Bond Street, well known as Belfast manufacturers for over a hundred years, with a branch establishment in Dublin. Here you may procure anything in the shape of Irish linens, and cambric handkerchiefs of the finest.
An alternative house in the same trade may be found at No. 130, New Bond Street, under the designation of the National Linen Company, which likewise makes a speciality of Irish household and table linen, sheetings, etc., and for which it also has an excellent reputation.
"The First establishment in the World," for children's clothing of every kind, is the claim fairly advanced by Messrs. Swears & Wells, of Regent Street (No. 192), to the notice of their patrons and the public at large. The unbiassed lady critic will concede the claim. They have for many years been distinguished by the direct patronage of the Royal Family, and many illustrious personages, as well at home as abroad; not excluding the leaders of New York and Boston society. For British hosiery and underwear, shirts, under-linen, millinery, and so on; girls' and boys' London-made clothes of the latest approved fashions, outdoor costumes, indoor dresses, and the rest. Swears & Wells have long held a very high reputation.
For ladies', gentlemen's, and children's umbrellas, there is no firm better known in London than Sangster & Co. , of 140, Regent Street. They have long held the lead as manufacturers of these articles; and it would be difficult to find anywhere a more varied assortment than you will find here.
Gunter's are the great London cooks and confectioners whence come the feasts of princes and other exalted personages, the State dinners of Ministers, and no inconsiderable number of the fashionable Ball suppers of the London Season.
Messrs. Buszard & Co., 197, Oxford Street, have an almost world-wide reputation for wedding-cakes. A few years since it was rumoured that this old-time memorial of the wedding-day was in the way of being abolished. To judge from what we have seen of this well-known birthplace of so many cakes we should say that that exquisite token of bridehood is likely to survive to the end of time. Let the visitor walk within and judge for herself. Buszard's is a pleasant resting-place on a summer's afternoon, when ices are refreshing inducements to the weary; and the Firm itself may be recommended to all and sundry, as caterers of first-rate reputation for breakfasts, luncheons, dinners and suppers. This, as we have said elsewhere, is a capital Luncheon resort for Ladies.
A noticeable shop in Regent Street (east side) is that of the American Confectionery store, belonging to Mr. Fuller, of Buffalo, U.S.A. As might be expected, it attracts a large share of the patronage of ladies who love such delectable compounds as the Americans show so deft a hand in mixing. For dessert and supper purposes this American confectionery is not merely tempting to the taste, but effective in the way of buffet and table decoration.
The most noted depôt for bouquets and table and ball decorations among the leaders of fashion is Mrs. Green's, in Crawford Street, W.
"London: that great sea whose ebb and flow
An Illustrated Handbook for the Season
Charles Eyre Pascoe, 1892