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item number #LISA0001-20090729-01

Mme. Grosfield COUTURE 1912-1915 Silk Evening Gown

A gorgeous 1912-1915 designer evening gown made by Chicago design house, "Grosfield." Mme. (M. A. ) Grosfield was a high-fashion couture dressmaker located at 909 Hadlock, Chicago, according to the archived Chicago blue book of 1915. (The "who's who" of old Chicago.) The 1912 date of this gown was said to be worn by the previous owner's grandmother in 1912. It is my belief the date (due to stylistic details) the dress date is possibly a bit later in date... possibly c.1914-1915, but keep in mind that this dressmaker could easily have been a forerunner of fashion in her generation as well. This gown reminds me tremendously of The Lady Duff Gordon gown (Made by Titanic Survivor, designer Lucile) in many ways, and the 1912 Chantilly Gown (both Edwardian Gowns previously sold here in the sold section of the website.). The similarities are so pointed in many areas that I would not be a bit surprised if Lady Duff Gordon and Mme. Grosfield had worked together at some point in time, but unfortunately for us nowadays, there is not much commonly known about Mme. Grosfield anymore. It seems she had a wealthy clientele that purchased her elegant creations, but she kept them private and did not outwardly seek outside accolades for her fabulous designs.

This Edwardian gown is elegantly tasteful and just stunning to view the amount of neat, well finished and meticulous work done here. It's better finished than many of the old designers I've seen over the years. There's a tremendous amount of fine hand work on this tasteful evening gown. The gown is made of a thin, soft, fluid, drape-able black silk satin charmeuse, with ultra-fine, hand-woven, Chantilly, (flowered) shadow lace Bretells (think "over-straps.") on the shoulders, both edged in jet beads that any serious lace lover would just love to have! There's a dual sleeve, the upper layer made of shirred, sheer black silk Georgette, the lower, inner sleeve of form-fitting, fine, shadow lace with petite black sequins.

The dress back has very meticulous pleated draping of the diaphanous silk Georgette over the cream shadow lace layered inside, as to show the insides through tastefully, much like a "see-through" sheer postcard popular back then. This was a very clever and handsome dress back treatment design by this dressmaker.

Cream inner bodice is made of cotton, micro honeycomb net with silk, hand re-embroidered lace over an inner panel of jagged cream hand-made, flowered shadow lace. There's many jet beads, plus iridescent, silvery gray/blue/pink hue, plus black gelatin sequins. Large, faceted, jet-glass beads are suspended from ebony shirred silk Georgette. Two rectangular black/silver sequin appliques' decorate the lower bust with loosely suspended shadow lace with more dangling jet-glass beads. It has a front opening bodice of original aluminium type hook and eyes, in fantastic condition. Inner bodice is made of cream tissue china silk, just in phenomenal condition as well. The silk gro-grain belt is specially "fitted" to sit round on the waist with the dressmaker's tag in fanciful script stating, "Grosfield" "Chicago" in, golden-yellow silk brocade woven into cream silk satin. It's attached with cream silk thread in a herringbone pattern.

The wrapping, side opening belt is gathered self-fabric, with hard, "tulip" shaped, self-fabric wrapped belt ornaments- very tasteful and clever additions, and the height of fashion throughout this period (1912-1915). There's 3 distinct layers to the skirt. The top layer which you see in the photos, has been precisely and finely pleated in a "tulip" shape, and has a very slight and very even overall brownish-black hue considered "off black." The back waist is slightly higher behind than front as per my (1912-1915) date for this gown. Cornflower blue silk taffeta peaks out from the overskirt edge folds. Second layer that reaches the feet (on a petite woman... ankle or 3/4 length on a tall woman.) is soft black, round hem. Bottom layer (kind of a slip of heavy weight, jet black silk twill back) reaches the floor also with large, round scalloped edges. If this a slip, it is a very heavy-duty one. Either way, this creates a well layered skirt effect.


Happily, this beautiful Edwardian gown is in superb condition as far as lace Edwardian gowns go, both inside and outside. I have only seen a tiny pinhole on one sheer Georgette shoulder, a tiny lace break in a bit of lace on a sleeve I couldn't find again, and 1 1/2" pinky sized slightly lighter spot on outer skirt outside hip bottom that is nearly impossible to see. The lace is a bit more yellow than appears in photos. The (inner) Grograin belt might have had a mend slightly over the years. All the hardware (hooks/ eyes and snaps) are there, and in perfect working order with no obvious problems. Even the laces feel good (and with old lace, especially black, that is usually rarely the case.)

However, even with all the good stuff about good condition to say... I will not recommend wearing this gown. (This is a rare early couture designer gown...) I always try to encourage people not to wear any old designers. The rare ones (such as this) can have a big following at later eras, and need to be well preserved, documented and studied for future generations.

If you really desire to wear this gown, then only with some hesitation I would recommend wearing UNLESS the form-fitting gossamer lace on the lower portion of the undersleeves are carefully removed. (The inner sleeves are completely handmade and ultra fine in nature... I just fear if the lace undersleeeves were worn, the aged fibers might tear from movement and pulling stress- although (as they are) they seem quite healthy enough. Also, the fine, open tines may catch, or break from stress just being formitting/ aged and the superfine in nature.) Then, the gown is carefully worn with proper undergarments underneath, and moisture guards to help keep the moisture away to keep the inner laces healthy and from any body moisture causing possible color bleeding to the cream areas of the insides. Also a few inches of looseness around bust and waist would be desirable to help keep stress pulling, at bay.

This fabulous Edwardian designer gown would be a fabulous museum display on old couture designers, wonderful to make patterns from, and is delightful in a collection due to terrific condition, and it could be worn as long as the steps as I recommended was strictly followed. A really, really terrific early designer couture evening gown!

Price is: $795

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Gown Evening Silk 1912-1915 COUTURE Grosfield Mme.

Estimated Current size Approx.:

Unsure about size? Go to the page
SizeLength tallDress cross ShoulderBustAcross WaistAcross HipsEstimated overall condition scale of bodice 1-10Estimated overall condition scale of skirt 1-10
MediumShoulder to hem 55"14"40" closed flush.31" closed flush.Loose9.959.95

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