Twenties in Technicolor: Beaded Silk Dress, France c. 1925 (via The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Bal Masque; Ligne Trapèze - Cocktail dress
Paris, 1958. Designed By; Yves Saint Laurent, for The House Of Dior. Silk tulle and boned silk, with bugle beads and satin ribbons.
The Duchess of Windsor patronised top Paris designers throughout her life. Christian Dior was a particular favourite. She was sixty-two years old when she selected this black evening dress. It was called ‘Bal Masque’ and came from the 1958 spring-summer collection designed by Yves Saint Laurent for the house of Dior. The style of the dress is influenced by the bell-shaped skirts fashionable in the 1860s. This influence can also been seen in the way it has been constructed. This dress has a tightly fitted boned corset and a bell-shaped skirt supported by a layered petticoat.The lightweight overdress is made of a double layer of spotted black tulle. It is studded with sparkling black bugle beads which are arranged in festoons caught at intervals by 42 bows of satin ribbon. The dress buttons down the back. | V&A
Timeless Vixen Vintage
Restored dress as worn by Ellen Terry in her 1888 portayal of Lady Macbeth.
“When Ellen starred alongside Henry Irving in Macbeth in 1888, there was not a wide choice of fabrics available in England, and Alice could not find the colours she wanted to achieve her effects. She wanted one dress to ‘look as much like soft chain armour as I could, and yet have something that would give the appearance of the scales of a serpent.’ (Mrs. J. Comyns Carr’s ‘Reminiscences’. London: Hutchinson, 1926) Mrs. Nettlship found a twist of soft green silk and blue tinsel in Bohemia and this was crocheted to achieve the chain mail effect.
The dress hung beautifully but: ‘we did not think that it was brilliant enough, so it was sewn all over with real green beetle wings, and a narrow border in Celtic designs, worked out in rubies and diamonds, hemmed all the edges. To this was added a cloak of shot velvet in heather tones, upon which great griffens were embroidered in flame-coloured tinsel. The wimple, or veil, was held in place by a circlet of rubies, and two long plaits twisted with gold hung to her knees.’
Givenchy Haute Couture white point d’esprit ball gown worn by Audrey Hepburn in the opera scene of Love in the Afternoon (1957) (x)
Cristobal Balenciaga, 1955
The Kyoto Costume Institute
Costume design by Edith Head for Elizabeth Taylor in A Place in The Sun (1951)
Timeless Vixen Vintage