After a £110,00 restoration, the famous Beetle Wing Dress worn by Victorian actress Ellen Terry for the role of Lady Macbeth in 1888 (image at left; click to enlarge) has been restored and is now on display at Smallhythe Place, in Kent. While this is a theatrical costume worn on stage rather than a fancy dress costume for a social event, its use of actual insect parts is interesting in the wake of comment-thread speculation on previous posts about the use of such materials in fancy dress costumes imitating insects and birds.
True to its name, the dress was covered in real beetle wings, which made repairing it an interesting challenge. An article published by Britain's National Trust quotes Paul Meredith, House Manager at Smallhythe Place:
The actual dress is a stunningly bright blue-green, and was an enormous sensation at the time:
The dress, transforming the beautiful red-haired actor into a cross between a jewelled serpent and a medieval knight, was the talk of the town after the first night. John Singer Sargent painted Terry wearing it, and the artist's neighbour, Oscar Wilde, recalled the impact of Lady Macbeth arriving in a taxi: "The street that on a wet and dreary morning has vouchsafed the vision of Lady Macbeth in full regalia magnificently seated in a four-wheeler can never again be as other streets."
Special thanks to Eowyn for the tip!