FROM LEFT: Plaid dwiyèt with the tête a l'air; plain embossed satin dwiyèt with the tête calendé; and blue flowered dwiyèt with the tête cassèe
This long elegant dress is made with an uninterrupted length of fabric at the front, reaching to the tips of the shoes, which is gathered or pleated and sewn down at the shoulders. The dress opens in front to the waistline. A variety of cuts are used for the neck e.g., high and round, square, 'V' shaped and sweetheart shaped. Two bands on either side of the waist are tied or pinned at the front.
The back of the Wòb is made up of two sections: an upper well fitted back bodice and a skirt made up of several hollow pleats in the small of the back called the mawlet
which is meant to make a gros bonda
or accentuate le derriere
White cotton lines the back bodice as well as the sleeves. The lining continues unattached to the front and buttons down the front forming the corps jupon
which supported the breasts before the advent of brassieres. Long sleeves, cut on the bias end in cuffs which can be trimmed in a variety of styles.
The back skirt ends in a train, tail or latchè
sometimes measuring up to a yard in length. Along the inner border of the skirt is sewn a piece of cotton fabric measuring about 1418 inches wide. Rick rack braid (colour varies) is sewn between the white cotton border and the skirt of the Gwan Wòb.
The skirt of the Gwan Wòb made from cotton fabric should be well starched, particularly around the cotton inner border of the skirt, to give a very crisp, tidy and elegant appearance.
When dressed for outdoors the matadors were meticulous. They looked radiant and carried the outfit with pride and of course plenty of gam
To prevent the 'tail' from trailing on the ground the matador gathered up the fabric of the mawlet and secured it under her arm in a swift and deliberate movement.
So exacting were the matadors when choosing colours for the Gwan Wòb that Lafcadio Hearn in his document Two Years In The French West Indies
recorded a colour code used by them according to the different tints of their skin:
|Capresse (a clear red skin)||pale yellow|
|Mulatresse (according to shade)||rose, blue, green, white|
|Negresse||white, scarlet or any violet colour|