This is a vintage Irene Lentz dress dating early 60s, possibly late 50s. Irene was, of course, a legendary Hollywood designer, who designed for over 50 MGM films as their executive designer - she was also the go-to designer for many of the Hollywood stars, including Vivian Leigh, Marlene Dietrich, Dolores del Rio, Doris Day and many others. Although Irene is primarily known for her fitted suits, she also designed cocktail dresses such as this one.
This dress is made of black silk jersey in a simple sheath style. It has raglan style elbow length sleeves, scoop neckline and is decorated with a diagonally oriented line of tassels that go around both the front and back of the dress with small gaps at the sides. It closes with a Talon nylon zipper at the back. The dress was large for my mannequin so would fit better on the proper body.
Label: Irene Exclusively For Bullocks Wilshire. Irene opened her salon in the Los Angeles department store Bullocks Wilshire in 1935 and personally stayed in the salon servicing customers until 1942 when she was made head designer of the MGM costume department. She stayed with MGM until 1949 and then launched her own pret-a-porter line for major US department stores, some exclusive to a particular store, such as this dress.
Age: The dress has a Talon nylon coil zipper. The Talon Zephyr nylon coil zipper was marketed to the general public starting in 1960. However, it is possible that designers had access to these zippers prior to that introduction to the public as nylon coil zippers were actually invented during the 1940s. So, it is difficult to say for sure, but this dress does have the look of a 1950s cocktail dress rather than a 1960s one. Irene committed suicide in 1962 by jumping out of a hotel window but the Irene line continued to be made under another designer until 1970.
Sizing: No size is indicated on this dress but it should fit a size large - please rely on the following measurements for fit, taking into the style of the dress into account:
Shoulders: 17 1/2” across, estimated due to the raglan sleeves
Sleeves: 14 1/2” from the estimated shoulder
Bust: 40” around, taken under the sleeves
Waist: 35” around
Overall length: 42 1/2”, measured flat from the top shoulder to the hemline
Condition: This vintage Irene dress is in excellent condition with no wear, tear, soiling, staining or odour. This has been well stored over the last 65 or so years.
This is a wonderful vintage Irene dress - Irene was a legendary Hollywood designer, the first designer to have a salon within a department store!