I sourced this incredible 1940's bridal ensemble from an estate sale many years ago; a gentleman had been entrusted executor of his Aunt & Uncle's estate. He was not 100% positive of the year they married, but was pretty sure it was in the late 1940's, after the war. The gown was custom made for his Aunt, as was the lace cap & veil. The gown was impeccably stored and is in mint condition. Unfortunately, the veil was quite damaged with a lot of holes and tears, as well as extremely brittle from dry rot. When I cleaned the lace cap, some of the suds got on the edge where the tulle was attached and it just broke away. I'm so glad I took the photos with the veil before I cleaned it for reference. More on that later.
The Wedding Gown has an ivory bias cut slipper silk satin slip balance which is attached through the bodice to the alencon lace overlay, but falls free from the waistline down in a generous A-line. It has a Queen Anne illusion neckline with very fine mesh offset by ivory floral & leaf appliques. Basque waist. Sleeves are long with six lace covered buttons at wrist and a V cuff. The back has 28 lace covered buttons with satin cord loops.
The skirt of the gown is full of volume (see measurements) and as already stated, the balance is free from the lace overlay so more ease of movement and less chance for tearing the lace. The cathedral train extends six feet and is just stunning both extended and bustled; there is a loop sewn on the underside of the train for the bride to hold it up with - I pinned it to the underside to create a bustle for the photo above. The gown is in mint condition and has been hand washed & steamed.
Measurements: (Mannequin measures Bust 34" / Waist 26" / Hips 36" - Fits it very snug through bodice)
Bust: No more than 34"
Shoulder to basque at side: 16"
Back/Shoulder Width: 13" across
Sleeve Length: 28" to point
Dress Length (Front): 62"
Skirt Length from side of basque at waist: 45"
Train Length: 6' from side seams
Circumference of slip at hemline: 128"
The Bridal Headpiece is handmade from the same lace as the dress. It's a Juliet cap style, and as you can see in the Original Ensemble album, the veil was stitched around the wire edge in 2" segments to soften the edge of the cap. Of a style very similar to what Jacqueline Bouvier wore on her wedding day to marry John F. Kennedy. The original veil was most likely pure crisp silk tulle, which you can find online if you want to keep it authentic. There are less costly options of tulle that feel like silk available as well. I was devastated when the veil crumbled but I checked with an antique textile expert and she said the old veil would be of no use to anyone in it's state and most bride's would want to replace with fresh tulle. Doing so would also allow you to decide the length and layers you want for your veil. The headpiece is in excellent to mint condition. Just a bit of stiffness along the edge where some of the lace extends past the wire; leaving it as is in case it's needed to attach a new veil. It measures @ 6.5" across with a circumference of 22".
(Reference photo: Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy at her wedding - via Pinterest)
The Bridal Shoes are hand crafted by Lester Pincus. They are peau de soie pumps with a closed round toe. V cut vamp at throat with grosgrain piping, closed quarter. 3" cuban heel. I believe they are marked a size "7". Measures: 9.5" inside length / 3 1/8" across a widest part of sole. I would say they would be closer to a modern 6 / 6.5"
Please contact me if you have any questions or need more detailed information about this ensemble.
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