Woman’s short jacket, woven silk decorated with applied metal braid and cord. Timeline of Art History: Southern Europe, 1870-1900, Albanian made. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Woman’s short jacket, woven silk decorated with applied metal braid and cord.

The 24 large buttons which edge the low scooped neck of this jacket are purely decorative. Three small and insignificant buttons are what fastens the jacket closed around the wearer’s midriff. The method of attaching both the buttons and loops into which they are secured is unusual: a length of yellow silk cord has been stitched to the left-hand side of the opening so that it forms three large loops with three smaller ones in between. This has been repeated on the right-hand side where a button has been threaded onto each of the three larger loops and stitched in place.

The large decorative buttons are solid but the smaller ones are hollow, enabling them to be threaded onto the yellow cord. Because they are small it is unlikely they have been constructed around a drilled wooden core; instead some woollen or silk fibres will have been formed into a ball around a thick stick or pin which would have been removed once the button was complete.

Object Details

Title: Woman’s short jacket

Culture: Albanian

Materials and techniques: Woven silk, decorated with applied metal braid and cord

Timeline of Art History: Southern Europe, 1870-1900, Albania

Preserved by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Crill, Rosemary, Jennifer Wearden and Verity Wilson. Dress in Detail from Around the World. London: V&A Publications, 2002. 224 p., ill. ISBN 09781851773787. p. 52

Women’s jacket. Silk, 19th century, Albanian made. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.