Vintage mid-1970s Vera Maxwell dress suit in deep, sunwashed pink features a mock-necked, sleeveless A-line dress topped by a collarless, open jacket contrast-trimmed in the same print fabric as the dress.
The dress is shaped by princess seams front and back and closes with a back nylon zipper. The boxy little jacket has ¾ length sleeves and shallow patch pockets near the hem. Both pieces are made of a midweight slubbed fabric that burn tests as silk, likely blended with another fiber (wool or acrylic) for added sturdiness.
An ethnic print cotton or silk/cotton blend, in earthy shades of terracotta, ochre, turquoise, cobalt and brick, forms the neckline of the dress and trims its armsceyes, along with the edges and pockets of the jacket. Two panels of the fabric extend underneath the front plackets to the sides of the jacket, displaying a fuller view of the print: Stylized figures inside hexagons “striped” by bands of color.
My colleagues’ impressions of the wonderful print range from batik-, barkcloth- or Southwestern-inspired, to Thai- or Southeast Asian-influenced. Maxwell, long known for her discriminating, innovative use of fabrics--she travelled the globe twice a year to source them and in 1971 pioneered the introduction of Ultrasuede from Japan--used a variety of globally-inspired prints in her 1976 “Haute Classique” collection. (As the collection’s name suggests, her designs tended toward the timelessly elegant).
The back portion of the jacket is lined in pink rayon satin; dress is faced in a sheer matching silk. Both pieces are labelled “Vera Maxwell Original” and have the ILGWU tag in use between 1974-1995. Dress also has a fabric care tag stating “Dry Clean Only”, and jacket has a store label for "La Maisonette", a Massachusetts boutique in business from the mid-1940s through the late 1970s.
Measurements are as follows: Dress bust 35”, shoulders 15”, waist 30”, hips 38”, and length shoulder to hem 40.5”. Jacket bust 36”, shoulders 15”, sleeves 18”, and length center back to hem 17”.
Excellent condition, with no flaws to note.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild
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