Monday, 2 September 2013

Shop preview: late 1950s Cream Evening Dress

I am about to launch my Etsy shop, VintageSallyBoutique, where I will be selling handmade jewellery and, of course, vintage clothing. In the run up to opening the shop, I will be blogging about a few of my favourite items up for sale, providing some more detail about each item and some of the background to each item. As well as being useful for prospective buyers, blogging about each item gives me the chance to record the details of each piece, which hopefully shall make it easier to let go of each piece! Because it turns out, when you love vintage clothes, it's actually quite hard to let go of the ones that you love, even when you've bought them specifically for sale and they don't even fit yourself!

The first item I want to share with you is a stunning example of an evening dress from the late fifties/early sixties - 'very Mad Men', as people are wont to say these days. It's a beautiful column dress designed to give a lovely, statueque, house glass figure. From the front, it appears quite a simple, elegant dress, a long silouette allowing the focus to stay on the wearers gorgeous hour-glass figure and on the beautiful cream satin embroidered with beige and gold fabric.

The really  striking feature of the dress is it's back, with a dramatic V shaped plunging back that meets with a large square bow at the waist, which then leads into a double train that drops to the floor. The train gives the impression of the tails of an over-exaggerated bow, but in an elegant way! The bow cleverly disguises the zip closure down the centre back. Behind the bottom of the train ends is a slit to allow enough room to walk. However, from wearing it I can say that the skirt is slinky and tight enough that it does put a certain Marilyn wiggle into the way you walk!

Speaking of Marilyn, I've always associated this kind of statuesque column dress with her 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which is one of my all time favourites. Here's a few images of Monroe sporting the style:

However, I think this dress is somewhat later - late fifties to early sixties, and I would place it as such primarily because of the square neckline and the V back and feature train, which are quite distinctive. It really does put the dress smack bang in the middle of that Mad Men transition era from the 1950s to 60's.

1960s McCalls pattern

In terms of construction and condition, the dress appears to be well and solidly made, but there is no sign of a brand label, which suggests that this was originally dressmaker made, as would many evening dresses of this era. The dress is fully lined, and has an interesting way of doing up, just to make sure that you're fully enclosed! On the inside waist is a band which you do up first _ think the purpose of this is to make the dress hug even tighter to your waist. You don't need to have this one done up to wear the dress, it just improves the line and fit. Then the zip goes over the top up the centre back. Then the Bow closes over the top with several poppers, to hide the top of the zip. It makes for a pretty and very finished effect.

The exterior of the garment is in good condition with no visible marks or flaws, but the inside lining does show it's age upon closer inspection, with some light staining on the inside of the bodice and armholes - about what you would expect for a dress of this age that has been worn a few times. The split at the bottom has pulled apart slightly, although this is not visible on the outside. There are also some slight pulls on the satin of the inside lining at the very bottom of the trains.

I think this dress would have originally been intended to be an evening dress rather than a bridal dress, but it would work very well as a chic, stylish wedding dress for a more modern bride looking for something different, or with a Mad Men themed wedding!

No comments:

Post a Comment