20th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: 1930s rainbow stripes

Wow.  I really never do know what you guys with think of a frock!  I post the most saccharinely sweet 1850s dress, and you like it, because you like the period, and then I post a fringe covered 1850s dress that almost makes me like fringe (and that’s saying a lot), and your reaction….well!  Elise called it “…what my spiritual ancestress would have worn in the 19th century to campaign for gay civil rights”, but the overall concensus was piñata.  Poor piñata frock took a hit at (OK, I haven’t managed to add up the scores yet, but I know it’s under 7 out of 10).

Update: Oh wow.  7 out of 10 was way ambitious.  The final tally: 4.5 out of 10.  The piñata is busted.

This week I’m sticking with the rainbow stripes for our striped theme.  This is Elizabeth Hawes’ 1937 “Alimony” dress, in all its circle skirted fuschia and teal and lime and lemon and ochre and mallard and pumpkin and gold and white striped glory.

Alimony dress, Elizabeth Hawes (American, 1903–1971), 1937, American, silk, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Alimony dress, Elizabeth Hawes (American, 1903–1971), 1937, American, silk, Metropolitan Museum of Art

To tone it down, and for chilly evenings, the dress gets worn with a muted burnouse inspired cape (yay!  Burnouses!  ) with a cleverly coordinated tassel.

"Alimony" dress worn with "Misadventure" cape, Elizabeth Hawes (American, 1903–1971), 1937, American, silk, wool, Metropolitan Museum of Art

“Alimony” dress worn with “Misadventure” cape, Elizabeth Hawes (American, 1903–1971), 1937, American, silk, wool, Metropolitan Museum of Art

I’ve just realised this is the first Elizabeth Hawes dress I have ever posted as a ‘Rate the Dress’, and I am astonished at the oversight.  I wonder if you like it?  It does have some design elements in common with the zig-zag 1942 Worth frock I posted which you weren’t so fond of.  And it has a lot of the same bright colours and striped going vertically and horizontally (and diagonally) that you thought were daft last week.  But it’s quite a different dress.  Will that make all the difference?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

64 Comments

  1. Daniel says

    By the way, was the “saccharinely sweet 1850s dress” the fluffy pink bundle that looked like transmogrified Cinderella rags? (which I thought was kinda conceptually cool) – I didn’t think that one was generally quite well received either, it only fetched 6.5 out of 1o overall…

    • There have been a number of saccharinely sweet 1850s dresses over the years, and they are usually quite popular. I wasn’t particularly thinking of that one – though it was EXTREMELY saccharine!

      • Daniel says

        I’m pretty sure you’re not referring to the Raintree Country charmer. 😉

  2. Geoffwah says

    I don’t understand why I love this so much. I cannot explain, yet here it is, a 10/10. I feel…Edith Head and Bette Davis until the Burnouse and then I get a hint of Ingrid Bergman somehow. Love love love.

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