Vintage late 1970s cropped jacket and full skirt ensemble from legendary designer Tina Leser features an ethnic-inspired silhouette and exuberant dahlia print in violet, magenta, flame orange, marigold and white on an avocado green ground. The fabric burn-tests as cotton, possibly with a touch of wool.
The collarless, full-sleeved jacket evokes the short, boxy cut of a bolero or charro jacket and closes with 3 self-fabric loops and small white enamelled buttons (in a floral shape to echo the print). The sleeves are contrast-banded with a row of smaller dahlias, in a nod to the embroidered borders typical of regional dress. It is lined in a sheer lilac crepe.
Gently pleated around the 1” waistband, the skirt has onseam pockets to either side of the panel-like front gore, and its “border”—2 wide bands of large dahlias above a thinner band of smaller ones—is faced underneath with lilac cotton sateen. Unlined but for this, the skirt has a white cotton-blend petticoat attached at the waistband only, which ends in a flirty 7.5” flounce of eyelet lace. It closes off-center in the back, with a green nylon zipper.
In 1977, Leser offered more than one design incorporating flounces of eyelet; photo #7 shows a gown from that year with similar floral print, also layered over a petticoat. Famous for her pioneering use of multicultural textiles and silhouettes to create quintessentially American designs, I believe Leser was “interpreting” a Mexican Chiapas dress, with its signature bands of vibrant, embroidered flowers, in the print of this ensemble. Her choice of dahlias for featured flower playfully underscores the reference: Dahlias became Mexico’s national flower in 1963.
Labelled “Tina Leser Original” inside the skirt waistband, the skirt also has the ILGWU label in use from 1974-1995 and is tagged a vintage size 10 in the jacket. Tina Leser launched the “Tina Leser Original” label in 1953, and continued using it through her retirement in 1982.
Measurements are as follows: Jacket bust 36”, shoulders 13.5”, sleeve 22” and length center back to hem 16.5” . Skirt waist 28”, hip 42”, and hem 32”.
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Antique through Vintage Fashion & Jewelry