Vintage mid-1960s pastel sky blue sleeveless sheath from Lanz Originals in a chambray-soft linen and rayon blend features a scoopnecked, slim silhouette with fitted bodice and straight skirt.
The decorative top-stitching, front and back, along the princess and waist seams of the bodice ever-so-slyly references the folkloric embroideries and laced yoked dirndls of the company’s Austrian roots.
The dress, which closes in the back with a matching nylon zipper, has a summer-friendly pale blue cotton lining.
Label reads “Lanz Original, Copyright Lanz Originals Inc., Dry Clean Only”. No fabric content tag, but burn test results and appearance/texture are consistent with a linen-rayon blend (a number of 1964-6 ads state the fabric of Lanz Originals dresses to be “rayon-flax” or sometimes “rayon-flax-cotton”).
The Lanz Originals company grew out of a partnership between German refugees Werner and Kurt Scharff, who fled the Nazis in 1937, and Austrian
designer Joseph (Sepp) Lanz, who had shops in Salzburg and New York City, and had popularized modernized versions of “Tyrolean” dress. The Scharffs opened their first shop in Los Angeles in 1938 with a $5,000 loan; bought out Lanz and renamed the business in 1946; and had expanded by the mid-1960s to 9 retail locations in California, Nevada and Hawaii—in addition to the over 1500 international retailers which carried their designs.
Elinor “Nornie” Scharff was the chief designer for the company in the mid-century period, and their target audience was largely the campus crowd; as a May 1965 ad put it, Lanz Originals were “designed for young collectors with young figures who wear fashionably young sizes".
Measures as follows: Bust 34”, shoulder edge to shoulder edge 13.75”, waist 29”, hips 34”, shoulder to waist 15.5”, and shoulder to hem 38”.
Very good condition, with faint discoloration to the lining at the back of the neck and armscyes (photo #); not visible while worn.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild
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