Vintage late 1950s melon orange shirtwaist-style dress in a slubbed Cupioni rayon & cotton is unworn deadstock with the original tags attached.
The self-belted, shortsleeved dress has a notched collar and buttons to the waist with swirl-pattern white celluloid buttons, and a metal side zip eases entry as well. Flared skirt has two hip pockets accented by large, decorative flaps.
The back view of the dress is as eye-catching as its color, thanks to the rhinestone-sprinkled star or flower of white soutache accenting it.
The dress has its original paper hang tag, which reads “The fabric in this garment is made of cotton and Cupioni, Certified as full serviceable by the U.S.Testing Co.” on the front.
Back of the tag reads “The irregularities and variations in the weave of this dress are characteristic of the fabric and enhances its natural beauty” as well as that the dress is “Washable, Crease Resistant, Shrinkage Controlled Within 2%”. Washing instructions are provided, along with a statement that Cupioni rayon is a product of the American Bemberg company. Dress is tagged a size 14, via both a paper hang tag and a tag at the neckline.
Cupioni-and-cotton blend fabric, both as yardage and in dresses, appeared widely in 1956, prized as an easy-care (drip-dry) option which mimicked slubbed silk, resisted creasing, and could retain a bright dye color. Though Cupioni rayon yarn itself was a registered American Bemberg product, the fabrics it was woven into it were produced by a variety of mills and then used in finished garments by a variety of manufacturers.
This dress typifies the day-time shirtwaist of 1958 or 1959. An April 1959 article declares “[i]n the classroom or the office, shopping or sightseeing, the shirtwaist reigns supreme among fashion conscious women”, and goes on to describe its typical features at the time: “Miracle” drip dry blends, buttons that often stop short at the waist, “slightly full skirts”, and “new smart detailing” including braided trims and interesting back treatments.
Photo #6 shows an April 1959 ad for a dress quite similar to the one offered here.
Measurements are: Bust 38”, shoulders 14.5”, waist 28”, hips 42”, shoulder to waist 16”, and shoulder to hem 45”.
This striking deadstock dress is in good condition. Clean and sturdy, it does have subtle sunfade (from vibrant melon to a paler peach) in the folds of the skirt and underneath the belt, as it was (foolishly) displayed for a month in the sunny window of my retail shop. In addition, there are a few dark marks underneath the top button, invisible while worn. Photos #7 and #8 show these issues, which are reflected in the price.
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