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1941 Dated, US, Ivory Color, Woman's, Wedding Dress With A Super Long Train, And With Accessories
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This woman's wedding dress is a spectacular item that must be seen to be appreciated. While it's manufacturing date is unknown, it can be fairly accurately deduced that this wedding dress dates anywhere after the 1941 period, but we are not sure either way. It's style and construction suggest that it is of the 1941 period. However, when this wedding dress was acquired, it came with a few accessories (which are also impossible to date exactly), but give us a little more direction as to dating. Included with this dress are a pair of matching wedding shoes that have a hand written card stating that this grouping is of the 1897 period. When the museum purchased this grouping from a regional antique shop the proprietor-ess stated that she purchased the items from a very old lady in town who in turn said that it all came from an old relative of hers from "way back then". It's your guess, and the future buyer will have to be the deciding factor on the dating of all of these items.
This dress is a college/student, made item that originated in New York. There is a off-white color cloth tailor's tag found sewn inside the body. It is of the printed type. The tag reads: "NEW YORK, Creation, N.Y. DRESS INSTITUTE, Made under standards of I.L.G.W.U., C ("copyright") N.Y.D.I., A458504?". Museum research indicates that the I.L.G.W.U. was founded in 1900, so this should help to date these garments more accurately. The color of this dress is in the intense ivory range and is made of the bright and shiny silk/satin material type that looks so cool. It appears to us to be made out of a high grade of satin, but we may be mistaken as it feels very much like a silk or rayon material. Silk garments tend to crumble and deteriorate from age very quickly, and this dress shows none of that age deterioration, so satin or rayon is what it probably is (it's your guess). The size of this dress is fairly tall in length not counting it's tremendously long train, but also of the usual small waist size common to the period. But as with all of the museum's garments being made available, none are being sold to wear as they are all considered historical antiques. The impressive train on this wedding dress is very long indeed, measuring approximately 5 or so feet long - WOW! The condition of this dress is conservatively rated as in a LOW GOOD CONDITION, however it looks much better than that. This museum prefers to underrate the condition of our garments and most will look much better than our more critical condition code ratings listed.
This dress when displayed, looks fantastic overall. That is why we originally bought it for an exhibit piece. There is some of the usual age yellowing, but on an ivory dress it is not noticeable very much. There is the usual garden variety of body/train stains, some larger yellowing stains found at each shoulder blade area in back, a 3 inch split seam found below the rear buttons (an easy fix), 2 tiny pinhead size holes in front, two stains on the rear train, and it has 2 missing buttons in back. The 2 stains on the train have been photographed to illustrate their size and location in the lower rear train area and they look to be cleanable. And as for the 2 pinhead size moth holes, note 1 is located just above the lady's left breast, and it has been photographed to show it clearly. The 2nd pinhead size moth hole is located near the top seam of the lady's right shoulder, and it has also been photographed to illustrate it clearly. Both of these 2 tiny holes should be repairable with some success. There are also 2 buttons missing from the middle of back closure area of this fine dress which could be replicated or swapped out with other buttons found in the same closure area. Note our photo that clearly shows this back buttoning area. It is comprised of an incredible 30 buttons! The back buttoned area is just magnificent to behold (see photo) and is a high point of this wedding dress. The museum has not had this dress cleaned. Cleaning properly would probably enhance it's appearance. Unless the young bride was anorexic, a corset/girdle would have been required to wear under this tight fitting wedding dress (see the museum's other listings for vintage corsets and girdles that are available).
The shoulders of this wedding dress are nicely padded giving a "puffy" appearance. The front breast area is of a "criss-cross" style and each side is gathered together with a beaded ornament of sorts. The sleeves are tapered towards the cuffs which are pointed and then adorned with 5 matching buttons giving a very nice finished appearance. There are no zippers or side waist openings and this wedding dress was not designed for a waist belt. When this dress was acquired there were other items available to purchase that complimented this dress nicely, and some are included here. We do not know if any of these items were ever part of this ensemble or not.
The 1st item added is a nice pair of tight meshed "fishnet" pattern short gloves. The fishnet is very tight in gauge. The gloves are a nice matching ivory color to the dress and are slightly gathered at the wrists. They are of a unusual larger size which is quite rare to find these days. As expected they do have some minor staining but otherwise we condition rate then as a LOW EXCELLENT CONDITION. The 2nd addition is a nice pair of all-leather shoes. They are also of a nice light ivory color. They have correct style, leather covered heels which are almost 2 inches high. Each shoe has a large decorative silk bow attached in front that includes much beading. Since the bows are silk they are showing some edge fraying, which is typical for antique silk material. These shoes are very small in size which is also typical for the period. Their leather bodies are stained and peeling in a few spots, but still look OK nevertheless. We conservatively condition rate then as in a LOW GOOD CONDITION. As stated above, we acquired these shoes along with this wedding dress. They included a nicely hand-inked card which was displayed with these shoes in the old antique shop. The card reads: "1897 Shoes Alice Harp Young loaned by Joan Posey". We do not know if this card is accurate or not, but it is included anyway as that is how we got it. The calligraphy on this card is magnificent. It looks like the lettering was done by an old fashioned fountain pen, but we are not 100% sure of this.
The 3rd item that is included is a gorgeous pair of ivory color, thigh high stockings. They are hand made, being very ornately hand crocheted in several lacy patterns. Due to this very ornate crocheting the material that they were constructed out of had to be relatively heavy in gauge. Due to this, they must have been very warm to wear in the summer! Their length, for thigh high style stockings is quite short but is correct for the period. They probably only reached to just above the/her knees. Very long garters would have been necessary, or more correctly, perhaps the young lady wore "elastics" which are a sort of a rubber band to hold them up. She would of then have rolled her stocking tops down over the elastics. For all of those many stocking aficionados out there, this practice was called "rolling your own", which was still being espoused up into the 1940's era. We believe that this phrase was hijacked from the tobacco rolling practice for those who hand rolled their own cigarettes. These stockings are really nice and only have some lower and side foot staining, leaving the rest of the stockings in perfect shape. This staining would probably be invisible to the viewer once the young lady slid her "tootsies" into her shoes. As a collector of woman's stockings for over 38 years now, these handmade stockings are impossible to improve upon. It is a shame that the floor length hem of this long wedding dress completely hides these magnificent beauties from view.
The 4th and last item added to this grouping is a beautiful lady's straw hat. We believe that this hat is not all that old and probably a post WWII produced item, but we are not sure. It has a magnificent style that suggests that it is old, or perhaps it is a more modern equivalent or sorts. There is a wide gross grain outer band of gray color that runs around the circumference of the hat and which has pretty edge loops that look like it was cut with pinking shears. The hat is also nicely veiled in a soft ivory color fishnet material that incorporates little gray color fuzz-balls attached here and there. There is a very large, and really cool looking ostrich feather attached to it's right side which makes this interesting hat just gorgeous. The feather is hand sewn on which suggests that it may be of a older period. There is also a nice 4 inch long hat pin stuck through the rear brim. The pin look old to us and it adds a bit of class to this already sexy hat. The inside of this hat has a fairly large bevo type of tailor's tag found sewn inside. It reads: "NEW YORK PARIS Mr. Lohn CLASSIC". We found out on the internet that this tag may indicate that this hat is a modern made piece. It's your guess. The condition of this hat is just perfect and we rate it in a HIGH EXCELLENT CONDITION with no obvious flaws apparent. If this hat is modern, well then at least it compliments the wedding dress just right.
Comments From The Curator:
This ensemble is just gorgeous to behold. It includes enough additions to make it a magnificent display piece that is impossible to improve upon. If you are looking for an impressive dress that just goes on and on with it's long train almost foever, then this is just the ticket for you. We purchased this wedding dress to incorporate it into a museum diorama that would have shown a young bride being married to a WWI period soldier while he is home on leave. With the cancellation of the museum's over 300 female uniforms that were going to be exhibited all together, this magnificent dress can now be yours for the asking at a great price.
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