One thing I learned was that people used to use arsenic for just about anything. Rat poison, sure. But also wallpaper paste, wallpaper itself, medicine and all sorts of green dyes — it was everywhere.
Scary to think that if I had lived a century ago, my love of green dresses would have been hazardous to my health.
I wonder when they stopped using arsenic in dyes.
Let's take a sec to appreciate the pretty, potentially lethal print going on here:
Probably not lethal, right? I have no idea when Arsenic was made, but the material is so delicate (I think it's silk, but there is no label) that it can't be more than fifty years old (she said, knowing nothing about what fifty years might do to silk).
The cut certainly doesn't date it. I have never seen another dress with this cut.
It's so drape-y! It's a little hard to tell from the above photo, but Arsenic is actually divided into three horizontal panels.
The top panel gives the neckline that loose quality that I love so.
The middle panel is loose and comfy, without being billowy and shapeless.
And the bottom panel — I'm not sure if you can tell this from the photos — has what I am going to call a soft hem. I don't know if there is a proper technical term for it. But you know how most hems are ironed and sharp? This one just loosely folds under.
The bits of construction that you don't see right away are equally impressive (of course Arsenic is lined, I mean come on, that isn't even what I'm going to talk about).
A little tie in the back makes a strong case for a short haircut.
The inside of the neckline has a little weight sewn into its own little arsenic-y pocket to help with the draping. This is the equivalent of people weighting down hems by sewing little chains inside, which I've only read about, never seen.
The care and imagination which with Arsenic was made makes me forgive it in advance for any horribly painful death I might suffer at its hands. I can't say the same for canned tomatoes.
All photos by Claire Loeb!