Vintage mid-1950s black cotton lawn dress from Anne Fogarty delights with a harlequin print of terracotta, clay, orange and white diamonds.
In addition to its gloriously full circle skirt (with side seam hip pockets), the dress features short kimono sleeves, a deep V neck front and back, and a cummerbund-wide waist yoke that hugs the midriff, creating an a shelf bust-like silhouette.
The waist is further accented by a self-fabric belt threaded through—and backed by—black patent vinyl. Non-functional buttons to the waist adorn the dress bodice, which closes with a metal zip in back.
Labelled “Anne Fogarty, Margot Inc.”, the dress is from the designer’s Spring 1955 collection, though its orange-and-black colorway makes it perfect for autumn—particularly October! Fogarty, who began her career as a model for Harvey Berin, married painter Thomas Fogarty at age nineteen, and took up designing with Margot Inc. in 1950, when she was in her twenties.
Photo #9 shows a period photo of the dress; caption reads that dress is “patterned with tortoise colored diamonds”. The related April 17, 1955 article notes the dress’ “black and tortoise harlequin print” and declares that “petticoats are essential to the success of Fogarty’s full-skirted dresses” (she designed those too—as well as hats, Capezio shoes and costume jewelry—to complement her frocks).
The nipped waist, “bouffant skirt” silhouette was a signature one for Fogarty in the 1950s, sometimes referred to as a “paper doll look” or “tea cosy silhouette”. An enormous hit with teenagers and the youthful-at-heart, the popularity of her designs earned the description “Fogarty-itis”, and the rage for extremely full (or multiple) petticoats was attributed to her.
Photos #4 and #5 show the dress with (from left to right) no petticoat, one petticoat, and 2 petticoats. (Petticoats are for display only, and not included with the sale of this dress).
Measurements are: Bust 40”, underbust 30”, shoulders approx. 16”, waist 25”, hips free, shoulder to waist 18”, and shoulder to hem 48.5”. Excellent condition, with some wear to the label and minor creasing to the back of the belt.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild