Tag Archives: evening dress

Eye On Design: 1920s Evening Dress

1920s evening dress photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Among the most popular types of evening wear during the 1920s were loose, sleek, chemise-style dance dresses with sleeveless armholes and wide-cut necklines, which could be pulled directly over the head.

1920s evening dress photo by gail worley

Profuse embellishment, often consisting of glass and metal components that would capture and refract light when in motion, counterbalances the minimalism of form. This 1920s Evening Dress by an unknown, possibly French or American designer, is made from a yellow cotton plain weave embroidered with gold metal paillettes, gold glass bugle beads, clear glass beads and seed beads, and clear glass crystals. These extravagant fashions were devised to glimmer within modern environments newly illuminated by electricity. They also mirror artistic tendencies at the time, such as the Art Deco attributes of geometric lines and shapes, contrasting metallic tones, and an overall streamlined modernity in form.

1920s evening dress photo by gail worley

Photographed as part of the Exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, which closed in early 2020, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Floral Appliquéd Evening Dress By House of Chanel

floral appliquéd evening dress by chanel photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

At the end of the 1920s, the prior emphasis on lavish surface embellishment transferred to printed textiles, which were fashioned into a variety of romantic permutations. The elegant ombre-dyed silk chiffon of this evening dress was likely created for Gabrielle Chanel at her own Tissus Chanel factory in Asnières-sur-Seine, France. The delicate manipulation of the textile in this Floral Appliquéd Evening Dress (spring/summer 1935) is evidence of the superior capabilities of the Chanel  couture workrooms

floral appliquéd evening dress by chanel photo by gail worley

The gown’s bias-cut fabric drapes and clings to the figure, gathering into delicately ruched straps at the shoulders and swelling into soft folds around the hem. Individual picot-edged florets are backed with net to create volume and strategically appliquéd throughout the garment to further enhance the printed motifs, resulting in tactile bouquets that gently flutter when the wearer moves.

floral appliquéd evening dress by chanel photo by gail worley

Photographed as part of the exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, on view through May 17th, 2020 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Beaded Culottes Dress By Norman Norell

Beaded Culottes Dress
Photos By Gail 

In 1960, Norman Norrell  created one of his most daring and sensational innovations, the first culotte-skirted, wool flannel day suit. Soon thereafter, he debuted the culotted evening dress. Although it took years to gain widespread popularity, Norell responded to the fact that modern women were more mobile than ever and needed clothing to match their lifestyles.

Beaded Culottes Dress
Pale Pink Beaded Culottes Dress (1961), Chiffon with Glass Beads

Because he was convinced of the culotte’s value and insisted that it be made perfectly, Norell offered to give away his pattern to other Seventh Avenue clothing companies free of charge.

Photographed as part of the Exhibit, Norell: Dean of American Fashion, on View Through April 14th, 2018 at the Musuem at FIT in Manhattan.

Eye on Design: The Tree Evening Dress and The Petal Stole By Charles James

Tree Evening Dress
All Photos By Gail

With its petal-like stole, this evening gown, The Tree (1955),  transforms the wearer into a flower, giving her a sensual elegance. Couturier Charles James (1906 – 1978) often envisioned his clients as exotic flowers and he believed that fashion should arouse the mating instinct. Ooh!

Tree Evening Dress

Psychologist Nancy Etcoff writes, “Flowers are alluring landing strips for pollinating insects: They are the plant worlds sex objects.” Think about that next time you see  a flower.

Charles James 1946 By Irving Penn
Charles James, Photographed in 1946, By Irving Penn

Tree Evening Dress

Photographed as part of the Force of Nature Exhibit, on Through November 18th, 2017 at at The Museum at FIT, Located at the Southwest corner of Seventh Avenue and 27th Street, in NYC.

Update, September 9, 2018:

This outfit is currently part of the latest exhibit at the Museum at FIT, The History of Pink. Here are three additional photo of the dress that I took just yesterday!

Tree Dress and Petal Stole
Tree Dress and Petal Stole Installation View

Tree Dress and Petal Stole
Tree Dress and Petal Stole Rear View

Tree Dress and Petal Stole