This is a dress dreams are made of. The cocktail dress reigned throughout the 1950's, and this is an iconic example of just how elegant women dressed for cocktails and for dinner out. This dress is a grey - blue color with coordinating guipure lace appliques along the collar of the bodice that pull a bit of an olive - blue - grey tone. There are no fabric or care labels, but I believe it to be silk light taffeta, and it's fully lined with peach colored fabric. The bodice of the dress is a body-conscious sheath style, with 8 contouring seams on the bodice, a v-yoke waist in front and back, with darts along the waist that pleat into the skirt of the dress. There is a sash of sorts, a folded half-panel, if you will, attached at the waist on the left side of the back of the skirt to add extra volume and flare. Please note: this is sewn into the bodice and along the left seam of the skirt and is not detachable. But I don't know why you would want to remove it anyway; it's what makes the dress so amazing! The skirt of the dress allows a bit of ease through the hips and thighs, then tapers in again to a slimmer fit at the hemline. It has a 14" metal zipper in the left side seam. It's a very elegant design - very feminine and flattering. The dress is from the Designers' Shop at the famous Chas. A. Stevens & Co. department store. Their flagship store was located on Chicago's famous State Street - a fashion mecca and shopping destination for decades. Although there isn't a label, I feel strongly this could be a Ceil Chapman design. I found multiple ads in the Vogue Archives for her dresses that could be purchased at this department store, and an image search shows her use of this color in her designs throughout the 1950's. The quality of the construction is excellent: the seams are pinked & stitched, the hemline is finished with coordinating hand stitched ribbon, and the lace is hand sewn onto the bodice. Overall the dress presents beautifully, but there are a few issues to note. At the very top of the left shoulder, where the lace meets the dress, there's a tiny worn spot where the peach lining shows through - see photo above. There are a few breaks in the lace appliques (see photo above) but again only visible on close inspection. There are also some very faint and small spots scattered on the lower half of the skirt - they almost look like tiny water marks. The dress was dry-cleaned some time ago, so perhaps another cleaning would remove them, but I'm not sure. They are so faint and are really only visible on close inspection, and do not detract from how the dress presents. The lining has quite a bit of marking and staining (click HERE for photos), but again it has been dry-cleaned and overall the dress presents beautifully. A stunning piece of mid-century fashion history & the glamour of getting dressed up for a night on the town. I am taking the minor condition issues into account with pricing, as well as the consideration it may well be a Ceil Chapman dress.
NOTE: Actual color is closest to the top photo. It is a muted grey - blue tone on the cool side.
Label: Designers' Shop Chas. A. Stevens & Co. Chicago
Bust: 36" plus darts
Back: 15.5" across
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