The most noticeable thing about Emily Tinne's evening wear, examples of which are on display in the exhibition and in the image gallery below, is that it is mainly black, with the occasional flash of silver, pink or blue. It's thought that Emily had once put on mourning dress for a family member and found black so easy to wear that she wore it ever after.
Black was indeed a fashionable colour for evening dress at that time, but it was also flattering to a woman with a fuller figure. Emily's black silk evening dress, made by Henry Darling and Co of Edinburgh in about 1910, shows how slim she was around the time of her marriage. By 1930 however she had had seven children and probably found black helpful in disguising her changing body shape.
Emily's favourite fabrics for evening wear can be seen here. She especially liked silk velvets, machine-made laces and silk crepe sewn with glass bugle beads.
The family letters reveal some of the places that Emily and Philip visited in the evening, if he had no evening surgery. In October 1934, for example, Philip wrote to their son Ernest, telling him;
"Mummie and I went to a conversazione in Walker Art Gallery last Thursday night. About 1000 people there, of whom we knew 4. We had a lecture on 'how to appreciate a picture'... then had a look round the Autumn Collection and came away."
He added, disapprovingly;
"Hardly anyone in evening dress. Those in it covered themselves with cloaks and coats."