After Prince Albert Died in 1861, there was
a fashion for sympathetic mourning, including ball gowns.
The dress from the front and back. The skirt is just basted to the bodice, and therefore interchangeable with the day version of the dress. The back laces up, as shows quite clearly. In the 1860s, they didn't use plackets under the lacing, so I didn't either. When it stretched with wear, you could see through the dress a little. If I have another opportunity to wear this dress, I'll add a few hooks and eyes to the back which was a period solution to this.
And seated views. The narrow wire crinoline under the skirt collapses very nicely. It's very easy to wear.