Age: late 1940s / maybe early 1950s
Label: No label, couture finished. A good number of the seams are hand sewn, others appear to be machine sewn.
Description: This is a fabulous vintage black silk crepe cocktail dress dating to the late 40s or early 50s. This was obtained from the estate of a fashion designer, and obviously is a high quality dress, featuring excellent design and fabric. Although there is no label, this looks to me to have been made by a higher end fashion house - it was the customary at that time for ladies to remove labels from their garments when returning from Europe in order to avoid duty and tax.
The dress has a narrow V shaped neckline that is only slightly revealing. There are collars / panels formed at either side of the neckline using couture techniques. The sleeves have a slight batwing shape at the upper arm and taper to the end where they fasten with five matching covered buttons and loops. The waistline is tapered to accentuate the silhouette of the body. There is a pleated panel applied to the skirt in an irregular line so as to be shorter on the left side than the right. There is an underskirt that emanates down to below the knee, in typical 40s fashion. I've posed the dress with the underskirt both "hiked" up in order to exploit the irregular hemline of the pleated panel, and with the underskirt in down position, as the dress was originally meant to be worn. This is a beautifully constructed piece, with tulle netting underneath the pleated panel in order to give the panel more dimension. The dress does up the back with a brass zipper.
Sizing: No size is indicated, but this should fit a small size due to the waist - otherwise, it might fit a medium. Please note the following measurements for fit, taking the style of the dress into account (please measure your body, whose measurements should be slightly smaller than those provided, or measure another dress similar to this one that you might have):
Shoulders: 17" across seam-to-seam
Sleeves: 23" from shoulder seam
Sleeve Inseam: 16 1/2" long
Bust: 36" around, taken under the arms
Waist: 24" around
Hips: 36" around
Overall length: 44", measured flat
The dress has a couple of small condition problems, all correctible. There are a few very small marks here and there, but they are really light and negligible and I am sure that they will come out with a professional dry cleaning. In addition, there are a couple of seams that have small areas that have come undone, easily fixed. The pleating would need some re-pressing. The only defect that is a little more difficult to deal with is a pinhead size hole at the lower back. Otherwise, the dress is in very good condition and looks great as is.
This is an excellent cocktail dress - super design and style with beautiful silk fabric.....
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