All posts tagged: 1920s

Rate the Dress: Jean Patou in 1924

For last week’s Rate the Dress I showed a typical 1930s frock in vivid tangerine orange lace.  Some of you thought that, despite the bright colour, the frock was too standard been-there-done-that 1930s, and gave it a very middling score.  The rest of you either love-love-loved the dress, or really-really didn’t – all of which, not surprisingly, led to a rather mediocre score of 6.6 out of 10. (and well done to Daniel, for being the only one to notice that yes, I’ve been presenting the rainbow for ratings, but having come back around to orange, rather than re-starting with yellow, I’m now heading off in a new themed direction.) This Jean Patou evening dress is both extremely minimalist, in its muted colour palette and simple cut, and extremely maximalist in its elaborate Egyptian inspired beading. While the decorations on the dress are based on Egyptian & Byzantine designs, Patou has carried them out in pastel shades of blush, lilac and gold, subverting our expectations of the inspiration point. The overall effect combines the typical tropes of Western femininity, with a …

Early 1920s Fringe & Poppies ensemble thedreamstress.com

The 1921 Fringe (yes, fringe!) and Poppies ensemble

It is a pretty well known fact to readers of this blog that I dislike fringe.  Dislike may be putting it mildly.  I believe the word I usually use is loath. My dislike of fringe stems primarily from all the terrible, awful, horrible ‘1920s’ ‘flapper’ dresses which owe everything to 2nd-half of the 20th century costume designers, and nothing to period originals.  To a lesser extent, I also dislike fringe because of the fringing on some 1860s dresses, where the designers seem to have gone “Woohoo!  Fabric is relatively cheap!  Fringe is relatively cheap!  Dresses are HUGE!  Let’s just throw acres of fringe at the hugeness!” Blech.  Ergh. But, for every rule, there are exceptions.  Vionnet’s famous 1938 scalloped fringed frock gets a pass for being fabulous and amazing.  Shawl fringe is generally attractive as long as it is sympathetic to the overall design of the shawl.  But I’ve never really been tempted to make a garment with fringed trim. And then, while prepping for the Hamilton Garden’s Katherine Mansfield Garden Party, I came across this fashion …

A slightly weird attempt at a 1920s slip

This weekend seems to be the time to write not-super-exciting catch-up posts that no-one is going to comment on, but that might be useful to someone later. As you can see, not-super-exciting, and kinda weird: This is a silk slip to go under the Summer of 1921 yellow dress.  It’s the product of desperation and curiosity.  Desperation, because my attempts to find a suitable yellow silk (or cotton, or viscose) for a proper ’20s slip in Wellington had proved fruitless, and curiosity, because I wondered if I could make one out of kimono silk. So this is made from lengths of 34cm wide vintage blonde silk habotai, originally intended for kimono linings, seamed together to be wide enough. In my first attempt I used one length just long enough to wrap around my bust and give it a bit of compression support, and four lengths sewn together to form a wide tube: I sewed big box pleats into the side seams, to shape the tube to my body, but give it enough volume to walk and …