|item number #LISA0001-20091013-01 |
1910 Edwardian MARGUERITE Madame Marge' COUTURE EVENING GOWN Metallic Lace
What a gorgeous, remarkably made early Couture designer gown with "corset" style waist by MARGUERITE!
Ms. Madelyn Shaw (the Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design and Art) wrote a research paper on the Tirocchi Sisters, and touched upon this enigmatic designer, MARGUERITE, (with grateful assistance from another unpublished research paper by Filomena D'Elia of Washington, D.C..) I wish to thank and credit both of these ladies for this important information below on Marguerite's little known life plus works, to be able to describe the background of this special designer made this wonderful gown.Ms. Shaw referred to this early, important, but nowadays not generally well-known but successful designer of the 1910s -1920s- late 1930's, Marguerite, (later on known as Madame Marge'). Marguerite's dressworks are noted in the research to be documented within the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York (in their Special Collections Library) possessing some of her original gown design sketches, trim clippings, and even dated photos of Marge' Models from 1921's, R. Mallinson's Blue Book of Silks. In the 1910s, Madame Marge' (or, Marguerite as we know her from this time period) appeared often in the American Silk Journal, and was featured for her excellent use, execution and styling of American silks.... MARGUERITE even won the Gossard Trophy from the Fashion Art League of America, (a very big deal in those days) for Excellence in Dress Design an amazing THRICE in a row (1915 to 1918)! For apparelling Ms. Marilyn Miller (of the Ziegfield Follies fame), Marguerite (Madame Marge') was awarded the Mallinson Cup for Excellence in Stage Costume Design, standing on her own alongside the works of the famed Erte's fabulous Zeigfeld Follies designs. Ironically, even with Marguerite's tremendous good press over her career, she'd managed to maintain a low profile, and so is believed to have chosen and preferred to make her living designing clothing predominantly for an exclusive, word-of-mouth clientele... (her name is noted to have never appeared in fashion magazines of the era, such as Harper's Bazaar or Vogue.) Interesting fact to mention also that her story had never been published like many of her more famous female contemporaries suchlike, Lady Duff Gordon (Lucile Ltd.). Now that you know a bit about this wonderful designer, Marguerite, I believe you can only appreciate how remarkably elegant and substantial this example of her earliest 1910 dinner gowns from her truly was!
The use and execution of the silks employed in this truly classic, Edwardian dinner gown are exceedingly in the Paris style fashion, with uncommon and beautiful styling... yet, very true to what is usually considered a much plainer period in American fashion. The magnificent Edwardian bodice has a pointedly dropped "V" (Gasp...to the waist!) with loosely pleated, Bretell oversleeves (loosely overblown panel sleeves, as I have seen similarly styled in a "May Manton" fashion pattern) trimmed in yards of hand-made, one-of-a-kind self-fabric, tubular, "Rolleaux" style leaf motif patterns, even with dangling epaulet balls on shoulders, and large Rolleaux patterns directly on the breasts! (Oh my!) Back is decorated much like the front, and closes with hook and eyes.The net under bodice appears to be made primarily of deep ecru Reticella/ Cluny needlework over net in combination, mixed with insertions of ground net/ with satin-stitched, hand-embroidered flowers, Irish crochet medallions, and woven, hand-knotted shadow lace made in the Valenciennes lace style- in an ode to Fall season wearing- a flowers-to-seeds motif. Very ornate and striking. There's metallic ribbons outlining the throat area, and elbows, ending in fancy, lacy "flowered" Chevrons at elbows and wrists.
The ebony-black, soft, silk gossamer sheer overlay of this resplendent Edwardian gown is trimmed profusely in a keyhole pattern of shiny and smooth, Glace' silk taffeta with many, large, padded needlework crochet balls, and large, leaf patterns of yards of Rolleaux hand-knotted trimming, and 1910's styled era tucked hem pleats! Notice the intricate pleated pintucking around the waist to form a very structured, but faux corset, perfectly?! Wow- is all I can say... Marguerite was a REALLY talented designer- the folds all lay perfectly, molding smoothly into the softly flowing skirt to train! There is no underlining to the skirt (never was) so a dark petticoat was worn with this dress.The inner bodice is made of net, with flexible, cream, twilled silk taffeta liner. You can see Marguerite's tenacious hand stitches inside in black- (this whole gown is a virtual testament to the old school of hand styling...) she made silk taffeta pleats inside at underarms to fill out and acetuate the sides of the bust, and between the breasts to add to the feminine ideal of the "monobust" phenomenon that had been all the rage. All her inner seams are curvy and hand-finished, and has featherboned stays lined in silk twill. There's a lace "Modesty Panel that could (or not be) used by tightening down, and it's edged in original, sturdy, high quality pink, silk satin ribbon. The cream, woven grograin silk satin Petersham at the waist says, "Marguerite, 49 West 39th St., New York" and attached with shiny silk thread in an "X" pattern. Has a quality overall weight and touch to the hand. A decent size 4-5, tall! This is a "WOW WOW" antique Couture gown!
This superb dinner gown is overall in very good condition, with only minor concerns to be mentioned. With this being an early designer of importance to the evolution of ladies fashion, and little data known of her to this date as of yet, I really do not recommend wearing this gown... however lovely and mostly stable the overall condition is... someday someone will likely do a biography of her, find out some obscure but important facts about her, and she becomes a household name like Jeanne Lanvin, or Coco Chanel! This beautiful Edwardian gown would do very well in a clothing museum or important collection of old vintage designers. That said, the condition is stable enough it could as it could easily be on a display, or almost be worn (if a few minor things were done first to shore up a few minor things.)
First, there is a very sheer, ultra fine, silk gossamer gauze inside of the sleeves/ outer underarms that have some small tears/ wearing. This liner should just be removed (or, relined with china silk or cotton net if desired). Personally, removing the sheer should just be enough. The inside of the bodice netting had been well replaced some time ago (long before me) and this stabilized the inside well enough that it could actually be worn. (I wouldn't remove this net although it is not original to the gown... In this case, if you did not know it was not original, you might not even realize it, so this fact makes it really not worth removing...) All the ecru needle lace is slightly dingy and has a few, tea-colored, tiny spots. Metallic pieces are darkened with age- related tarnish. Ideally, if a talented needle woman removed these lacy pieces and carefully hand cleaned them (removing the sheer sleeve lining at the same time) then replaced these sections- this gown would have almost a new appearance otherwise- the other silks used still glisten with lustrous good health. (No dryness or dry rot.)The black sheer silk has a few pinholes (as to be expected), and a few vintage, woven mends on skirt. On bodice and skirt there's 2-4 of the black crocheted balls missing- they are almost impossible to make out as missing as the designs are so intricate. One might be able to replace these or make some, or move a few of the others if desired...again, I consider this to be minor. Silk Petersham, and all steel hardware strong, good working order, no obvious looseness, rust or tarnish. A real prize! One of the prettiest 1910 gowns you are ever likely to see, ever.
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