"Dainty, demure (and sometimes devastating) dress - glance at Madame's progress during the past Century - then Eve will know where some of the present modes originated!" L/S of three women posing in a large garden. They wear long dresses from the early 1800s. The narrator describes the frocks as being "Directoire (?) style". The women walk and pose in the garden as the narrator describes how it was considered patriotic to wear cotton and wool rather than silk. Narrator describes how the women wanted to look like "Greek Goddesses" at this time but how 10 years later in shorter skirts they were much more comfortable. "...they had ankles again!" The hemline of a dress is shown. Two dresses from Jane Austen's time are modelled, then a frock "from just a hundred years ago" is shown. At a time when romantic young things read Byron the dresses were more flowing. A woman walks beside a flowerbed carrying a parasol. The narrator points out the large sleeves of the dresses.
C/U of this woman and her parasol, her dress is from 1837. Different types of sleeve from different eras are pointed out. An outfit from the 1850s is modelled. Woman walks through the garden posing with a parasol. C/U of her head showing her bonnet and C/U of the parasol. The crinoline is modelled. Various shots of the frock. 1860 dress with a "colossal mantle" - this older woman kisses her "daughter" who wears a "going away dress" and famous pork pie hat. The bustle of 1870 is modelled - various shots. A "hat like a dinner plate" is shown. The look of the "elegant '80s" is shown, then a tea dress from the last years of the century. Modern dress is then shown and narrator states that "nowadays we prefer comfort". Women in fashions of 1931 pass the camera. Note: bad perf damage on track - given to Julian for repair.
An elderly voice narrates this piece - probably Mr Cunnington who is the owner of this collection of period costume. He places the outfits in the context of people and events of the day such as Lillie Langtree and the Great Exhibition.