Shimmering rococo dress



Marije van der Ende

(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Photographer: Anika Arweiler

Outline the story …

My garment was inspired by a type of fungi called ‘Marasmius Calhouniae’. In nature, fungi belong in a kingdom of their own, separate from animals and plants. There is a huge variety, which makes them so interesting.

This fungus is white/grey in colour and gets slightly translucent when moist, creating a kind of shimmer on the lamella. I wanted to combine white with grey/silver, and add a kind of lined ruffles to the bodice of the garment.

I was inspired by the French rococo period (my favourite period), and wanted to make the skirt with side panels. I sketched out my idea, and had to look for several months before I found a fabric fitting my idea. I was very happy to have found the grey, slightly shimmering damask, and a sort of flat lying ruffled lace, which fitted to the lamella part of the fungus.

The bodice is one piece, with build in stays. This was important, as I want to use this garment for a musical performance, and have to be able to take it off without having to go through too many layers. The ruffles in the front create the effect of a stomacher, when in fact it is all one piece with the lace and ruffles handstitched on top of it. The overskirt consists of two parts, the white front panel, and the grey top skirt. To give it it’s shape, I used a crinoline, paniers and made 3 bumrolls and a cotton petticoat.

Outline the construction…

I do not in the traditional sense use patterns. I sketch out the design I want, add measurements and then start draping and cutting, either directly using the chosen fabric, or a mock up fabric.

I started with the pair of traditional stays made out of cotton, for which I used spiral boning. I then covered the stays in my grey damask fabric, which I sewed on by hand, so the boning will not be visible in the final garment. The handsewn lacing eyelets are hidden by the ruffled lace in the back, that also covers the front of the bodice, creating the effect of a stomacher. In between the ruffled lace, I handstitched separate pieces of white lace, and decorated it with small pearls. For the inside of the sleeves, I used different kinds of ruffled lace.

The skirt consists of a small front panel, which is put on over the petticoat and tied in the back, and the rest of the skirt in my damask fabric, which goes around the back once and is then tied in the front. And: I also included pockets which are hidden by the layering of the skirt. 

The handstitching of the bodice was the most challenging. Because of the boning, I could not stitch through the back of the bodice, but only the upper layer of damask. This was very tiresome for my hands, and I also broke multiple needles. 





  1. Avatar Sofia Sofia Duarte on May 8, 2023 at 9:00 am

    Beautiful. Love it

    • Avatar Marije van der Ende Marije van der Ende on May 8, 2023 at 9:04 am

      Thank you so much!

  2. Avatar Abigail Lamb on May 8, 2023 at 10:18 pm

    I love this. I aspire to creating a collection of pieces that work so well together like this. The care and detail are wonderful and set off so well in the photos.

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