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1940's To The 1950's Period, U.S., Commerically Made, Woman's, Light Olive Color, Gown, With Extras
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This woman's gown is believed to be of the 1940's to the 1950's period, but we leave that final determination up to the buyer. In owning many hundreds of women's garments over the years, we are fairly confident as to it's dating. This gown is untagged inside, but is believed to be of U.S. origin. The color is a soft olive green with a yellow-ish under toning. This gown is not of the usual tiny size found these days. We believe that it is closer in size to a small/medium. However, as with all of the garments being proffered, none are being sold to wear as they are all historical artifacts. This gown is of a very long length, probably made to drag on the floor as a train. The condition on this long gown is in a LOW GOOD CONDITION. There are several small snags, some tiny stains, a tiny snag hole or 2, and a slightly yellowed area at the rearmost part of the train (which was probably caused by its dragging over the ground). None of these defects are severe. There is 1 side belt loop and about 1 1/2 inches of the seam behind the loop needs re-stitching. The inner shoulder pads will also need to be re-tacked down as they are also loose from age. There is no belt with this dress, however, its long length would allow for ample material to make one that would exactly match. The upper bodice of this gown is studded with a great many artificial stones which appear to be all present. The hem line is straight cut and is not folded under for hem length adjustment (why bother, it was made long enough to reach the next planet!).
The front portion of this gown is 7 gored with no gores found on the sides or back, giving it a nice gathered appearance in front while still having sleek lines on the sides and back. There are also no side slits built into the hem. The cuffs are very nicely gathered-in and scalloped, with inside reinforcements added. Each breast has 1 lower gore to gether the gown in where it meets the lower waist line area. The shoulders are cut into 2 sections each and are gathered together and then tied to give a very full shoulder appearance. When added to each shoulder pad they really make a nice look. By the way, from our experience we have found that most padded shoulder gowns were of the 1940's period when such a style was envogue. This gown was acquired by the museum in 2001 from a now closed Greensboro antique shop that was chock full of vintage garments. We purchased a great many of them, picking the most interesting pieces, and also those that were in better than average condition. This is one of the better of those acquired. When these garments were purchased, we also bought a giant pile of pumps, slips, hats, eyeglasses, stockings, etc. To build this gown into a full ensemble, the museum has added the following items.
The 1st item is a nice pair of eyeglasses, which in this case have no case. These glasses are only in FAIR CONDITION, but still look remarkably good. They have age toning, some small frame chips and cracks, and the arms are peeling their outer covering to some degree. But when worn they still look quite good. These glasses are of the non-bifocal type and were made by "Shuron". And as with all eyeglasses, there are several tiny numbers and code marks hidden about the back side....if you know where to look. The 2nd item(s) added are a pair of open toe, cream color, high heeled pumps. They are of the expensive, all leather construction and were made by "Di Scarla". They have a high, 4 inch, slightly clunky heel. The pumps outer surface has much heat crazing from poor storage conditions. However, the crazing is so uniform that it almost looks as if it were purposely built in to the surface of each shoe. It kinda looks like alligator skin to some extent. Because of the age crazing, we will only rate these pumps in FAIR CONDITION. However, they still look O.K. when displayed. Also, they are pretty much invisible to the eye anyway, as the gown's long hem line completely covers them from view. The 3rd item(s) added are a MINT CONDITION pair of woman's, slightly dark beige color, thigh high, full fashioned, seamed stockings. We are experts when it comes to collecting vintage stockings.....and these are just GREAT! They have a magnificent 2 color top welt logo that reads "Dress Sheer, First Quality, Short". They have a pretty top and secondary welt design and have the sexy dual hand knitting lines that run parallel to each seam. There is also the much coveted toe and heel reduction knitting details that ladies so much appreciated. These stockings come with a stocking box top that is "Merville" brand embossed. There is also a box inner paper packing sheet that also reads "Merville", along with all sorts of other slogans, etc. But we do not know if these fine stockings came in this box or not. These stockings perhaps, should be replaced with a size that is longer then these "shorts" as the gown is of a long length. However, when worn under this gown, the stocking length really does not matter much to a mannequin. If requested, we could possibly replace then with a longer, more generic pair. These stockings were not cheapies in their day, ut since their color and quality were so nice, we will leave them with this ensemble.
The 4th item added is a nice, darker olive color, all wool felt, woman's hat. This hat gives a very nice color contrast to the gown. This hat, while intact, has a great many tiny moth nips but still displays remarkably well. But we will only rate it in FAIR CONDITION, even though it looks O.K. The hat has a chin string of elastic, which is not found on many hats back then as most ladies just bobby-pinned their hats in place. We have never seen a picture of a lady actually wearing a hat with a chin cord going around her chin. The inside of this hat has a gross-grain sweat band typical of the era. And there is a fairly large, bevo style manufacturer's tag that reads "B. Forman Sons, Roanoke". How cool is it that this hat is of local manufacture! The 5th item to be added is the all-too-classic, woman's girdle/corset. This example is in a light yellowish beige color and is of the long line length. As is the norm with expensive garments, this girdle has many nice details added during it's manufacture. It is of the 6 garter style, and all of the garters are both intact and of the proper design for the period. This girdle/corset is of the side zipper design and it also includes many internal hooks as is common on finer undergarments. The zipper is of the "Talon" brand and is of the proper all metal type, with a matching color to the garment. This undergarment is so well apportioned that even the undersides of both shoulder straps are nicely felt lines. There is a really long, bevo style of a manfacturer's tag found sewn inside. This salmon colored label is woven in 2 colors and reads "Bien Jolie, Foundations, Made In U.S.A.". There are also a couple of inked-in code numbers found inside as well. As for it's condition, this girdle/corset has a few rust and sweat stains that are mostly found in the side and rear areas, and NO snags (and that is amazing unto itself!), and a 1 1/2 inch frontal seam that needs to be re-sewn together. We conservatively rate this girdle/corset to be in GOOD CONDITION overall.
Comments from the Curator:
This ensemble presents itself quite nicely overall. It is especially nice that it runs a little larger in size than most vintage garments that are encountered these days. And it's long length also gives it some added appeal to those longer legged ladies out there who also love to wear high heels. The overall effect this gown exudes to the viewer is one of great elegance. And that makes it quite collectible today. Elegant garments are by their very nature, much more hard to find and expensive than the cheaper, much more commonly mass produced garments that are more prevalent. The gown's soft color is what makes it quite a plus too. For a collector's use in a multi-faceted concept exhibit, this gown has unlimited exhibit potentialities. Priced very fairly for all that is included.
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