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Date of your Antique Dress ARTICLE 1 Edwardian Couture by Lisa Schnapp on 02-26-2009
Note by Dress Detective Lisa Schnapp: This is an delightful, antique designer gown with tricky-to-find era style markers, submitted to the Dress Detective to hunt down the era dating clues...
Question by Grace:
I recently acquired a vintage gown but I have limited knowledge about dating it. I would hope that I could send you a couple photos of the dress and get your opinion. I'm just looking for a ballpark date. Thanks for any help you could give.
The dress consists of two pieces: an underskirt with train and a "robe" type dress (open in front) with train.
Both pieces are an ivory satin and the main trim is dark gray (black?) metallic ribbon festooned with flat-back rhinestones and glass bead trim as well as narrow beaded criss-crossed grosgrain ribbon and glass bead fringe.
In case it isn't obvious in the photos the gown has machine and hand stitching and boning.
Reply from Dress Detective Lisa at Bustledress.com:Thank you for sending the array of photos, they worked out perfectly.
The focus on the details has really helped to narrow down the date and what this magnificent gown was worn for.
I've concluded that this lovely gown is an Edwardian, c.1905-1906 formal, evening, Princess seam, open "robe" style formal evening tea gown, with Watteau train instead of just the Watteau box pleat back.
Many people trying to date their gowns get confused at the styling of this period and mistakenly think it is a mid 1890's Victorian dress fashion, instead of mid Edwardian dress. This happens for many reasons which I will explain later.
I believe this lovely Edwardian gown to be a couturier made gown, designed in the highest, sophisticated French style fashion, likely from a supreme and progressive New York society couturier house, or European couturier supplier (my vote.). I would not be at all surprised if a house like Masion Ney Soeuers (House of Ney Sisters) or a couture house like them originally made this gown.
Reply by Grace:The previous owner of the dress saw an article in her local paper about my fashion show I gave at her senior center.
She contacted me because none of her relatives wanted the dress. She found it among her father's belongings after his death (he was in his 90's). No one in the family was familiar with the dress at all.
It had been stored in a large chipboard box that had a printed script label on the center top from a Madison Avenue furrier. On the side is a small paper label on which someone wrote - Black crepe veils, Black jetted bag, Black gem metal reticule. So the box has a history of being used for storage.