Spectacular very late 1940s to early 1950s Lilli Ann black wool evening jacket features an embellished bodice and form-fitting shape with ruching in front from the high waist through the hips. The scattered "jewels" on the upper bodice include clear roses montee rhinestones, white seed beads, and round and teardrop-shaped faux pearls. The wool crepe has a beautiful woven pattern to it.
The jacket has a high neck, almost but not quite a band collar, and turnback cuffs. It buttons down the front with 6 dome-shaped clear glass buttons, quite unusual and an effective enhancement of the jacket's "opulence" factor. And, to ensure that the line of the jacket isn't disrupted by any gaping in the placket, a series of five hooks and fabric eyes starts just below the third button, helping to anchor the placket just so.
Though the integral shoulder pads are substantial, they don't exaggerate or extend past the shoulder line; the jacket's overall silhouette is lean, long, and curve-hugging. The back of the jacket is gored for a curvy, nipped line (this garment has not been pinned to the display form at all).
Lined in black crepe, the jacket has two labels, one which reads "An Original from Lilli Ann of San Francisco", and a second, down the side, which reads "Import, Fabric of France, Lilli Ann". It also has a National Coat & Suit Recovery Board tag.
Adolph Shuman, the president of the San Francisco-based Lilli Ann Corp. (named for his wife and co-founder), was instrumental in revitalizing the French (and Italian) textile industries after WWII. He began importing French fabrics and trimmings in the late 40s, and by 1952 was using the entire output of five French textile mills for his suits, determined to keep their centuries-old handlooming methods alive. Not only did he keep the mills from closing through using their exquisite fabrics for Lilli Ann clothing, but he taught them ways to streamline and improve their production; for instance, he had French beaders work outdoors, in natural light, which doubled their output. He committed himself to importing only handloomed fabrics for Lilli Ann, and to using at least 55% American-made textiles. Ultimately, France named him a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for his efforts.
Measurements are as follows: Bust 36", shoulders 14.75", waist 26", hips 32", sleeves 23.5" and length 27". Excellent condition; only flaw to note is that the top fabric eye under the placket has broken.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild
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