Photograph, Sarah Costumed for the Vanderbilt Ball
The Vanderbilt Ball, planned by Alva Vanderbilt in 1883, was a defining event of Gilded-Age New York. The Washington Post called the event “A Bewildering Display of Wealth and Bizarreric.” Sarah appears in a Persian princess costume, wearing a blue brocade robe trimmed with fur and pearls, crimson girdle, belt, and turban.
Costume balls of the Gilded Age were lavish events for the wealthy, and costume stereotyping of cultures was common. This practice is considered harmful today because it can diminish the meaning of cultural dress.
It is credited
Collection of Edward Parmee.