Friday was the May’s First Friday Art Trail, and the votes are in! This month will feature the most voted for wedding gown from the exhibit They Weren’t Always White. This 1948 ivory satin wedding gown received the most votes throughout the entire exhibition.
This ivory satin wedding dress with a fitted bodice and a gathered skirt with chapel train was specially made by Neiman-Marcus in Dallas for the bride Mrs. Marian Hinn Riggs, cousin of Mrs. W. C. Holden.
The next most voted for dress is this 1946 aqua chiffon, Lucien Lelong wedding gown, was worn for Kay and Paul Boutin’s May 29, 1946 wedding in Paris, France.
The third most voted for dress is this traditional style wedding gown in ivory brocade worn by Louise Hopkins for her marriage to Harris Faulkner Underwood II on October 12, 1941, at St. Matthews Cathedral in Dallas, TX.
Thank you for your participation!
Blue Velvet and Chiffon Gown over a Copper Slip, 1935
This gown has a floral coupe de velvet design on a blue chiffon background. It has a sweetheart neckline, shirred waist and belt, gathered sleeves and a broach at the neckline. The dress is worn over a copper-colored slip giving the dress a unique coloring. Both the dress and slip are bias cut, designed to hug the body and create draping.
This dress embodies key stylistic elements of the 1930s, which represented a marked departure from the 1920s clothing trends. The silhouette of the 1930s was softer and more sophisticated than the harsh angles of the 1920s. Rather than continue the dropped-waist, most dresses fitted closer to the body with a natural waist. Hemlines dropped creating a long, sleek body line. Using the technique of cutting delicate fabrics (such as silk and chiffon) on the bias, designers created fluidity that allowed graceful movement of the garment.
1930s Vionnet dress courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum
Regarded as “Queen of the bias cut,” Madeleine Vionnet is credited with inventing and popularizing the technique of cutting cloth diagonal to the grain of the fabric. Cross cutting the fabric allows it to cling to and move with the curves of the body. The style developed by Vionnet dominated 1930s fashion. Many Hollywood actresses wore her dresses including Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn and Greta Garbo. Demonstrated through her bias cut gowns, Vionnet believed that,“when a woman smiles, then her dress should smile too.”
Emerald Green Chiffon Gown, 1966
Worn by Lady Bird Johnson
Lady Bird Johnson wore this dress to a state dinner for Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India on her state visit, on March 28, 1966. President Johnson held a state dinner for Prime Minister Indira Gandhi the year she assumed the office her father had held for 17 years.
The gown is made from emerald green chiffon with the top beaded with green sequins and tiny beads. The gown has a simple round neckline, sleeveless and zips up the back. The dress was donated with a matching chiffon shawl.
Associated Press photo, White House Historical Association, March 28, 1966
Mollie Parnis, who designed many dresses worn by First Ladies from Mamie Eisenhower to Betty Ford, designed this dress. Lady Bird Johnson and Mollie Parnis became close friends during her time as First Lady, Parnis designed Johnson several gowns providing her with her signature look.
Associated Press photo, White House Historical Association, March 28, 1966
Two Piece, Silk Brocade and Taffeta Reception Gown, 1875-1880
This silk brocade and taffeta gown was made in the fashion of the early 1870s. It was made in Michigan and brought to Texas by the daughter of a lumber merchant. Some of the features of the dress are the asymmetrical draping on the overskirt, the trim of poufs around the bottom front of the skirt, shirring and knife pleating on the bottom back of the skirt and the crochet-covered iridescent pearls buttons.
Rust Brown Velvet Dinner Gown, 1935
This dramatic velvet dinner gown from 1935 is representative of the way women desired to appear during the 1930s. The dress has a bias-cut skirt with a train and molds itself to the body to form a statuesque silhouette. The bodice is darted below the bust line and small covered buttons run down the back. The sleeves are made with red fox fur banding on the edges.
This dress was designed by Lettie Lee who was a Hollywood costume designer. She was a gown supervisor and also designed costumes for several 1930s noir and early “Talkie” films. She most notably dressed Fay Wray in Ann Carver’s Profession, a film that directly followed her to star in King Kong.
Gowns like this made ordinary women feel glamorous like Hollywood movie stars, and they are not as hard to come by as you might think. We have several in our collection that were worn by fashionable women in West Texas.
Have you ever found a glamorous gown like this in your mother’s, grandmother’s or great grandmother’s closet? Tell us about it!
Gold Brocade Tunic over a Gold Taffeta Skirt, 1875
This beautiful gold silk brocade gown was purchased from Le Bon Marché in Paris, to be worn by Miss Carrie June of Fremont, Ohio. She used this gown for the graduation ceremonies at Brandon College for Women in Ontario, Canada in 1875.
The store where the dress was purchased is still in existence. It is one of the biggest and the oldest department stores in Paris. The building was designed by Gustav Eiffel and opened in 1852. Le Bon Marché specialized in luxury fashions for men, women and children but also in furniture, upscale gifts and housewares.
Coral Silk Ball Gown, 1890
In honor of the wedding dress that is going to be exhibited today, we are going to feature this ball gown. Hattie Napice purchased this gown at the same time as her 1890 wedding dress. The two gowns where made by the same seamstress in Dallas, Texas. The bodice has a low neckline and small sleeves made of lace. There is a small piece of silk that drapes on the front that resembles a cummerbund. The skirt has a front portion of cream silk with a gold and pink leaf pattern and long train.
Today is the first Friday of the month and that means it’s time for the First Friday Art Trail. Today we will be replacing the center dress with this 1890 wedding gown.
Hattie Napice wore this two-piece ice-blue silk faille dress with ostrich feather and bead trim when she wed Thomas Shive in December 1890 at Vernon, Texas.
Don’t forget to vote for your favorite wedding dress here or at the museum for the dress that well be featured in the center May 2012.
MAINBOCHER, Garnet Red Taffeta Evening Dress, 1946
Based on his experience as a Paris-based illustrator for Harper’s Bazaar and editor of French Vogue, Chicago-born Main Rousseau Bocher (October 24, 1890 – December 27, 1976) decided that he was entirely capable of opening his own couture house. He did so in 1930, first contracting his name to Mainbocher. At the start of World War II in 1940, Mainbocher closed his Paris salon and moved to New York. Though he intended to stay only for the duration of the war, he worked in New York until his retirement in 1971. Due to a policy of accepting new clients only through personal recommendation, Mainbocher’s salon was known as the most exclusive in New York City. Further reinforcing the impression of exclusivity was the lack of advertising. Rather than placing ads in fashion periodicals, Mainbocher relied on word-of-mouth publicity.
- Mainbocher was the one to design the famous Navy Waves Uniform. The first uniforms for the armed services designed by a well-known designer, they received much media coverage. Shown is Mainbocher’s military summer working uniforms in a grey seersucker dress with a matching jacket and distinctive collar design.
Mainbocher’s garments were created in the strict tradition of haute couture. Clients selected a garment or garments based on the models seen during the daily 3 p.m. showing at the salon. A personalized garment was then created specifically for the client and fitted over several weeks. Due to their high-quality fit, construction and fabric, Mainbocher’s garments were extraordinarily expensive and long-lasting. A 1961 Vogue feature on Mainbocher noted this, suggesting that anyone interested in Mainbocher’s work carefully weigh the “spectacular longevity of Mainbocher’s clothes as a good, long-range-economy argument for paying prices among the highest in the world.”
Two models singing wearing sleeveless Victorian-style dinner dresses by Mainbocher (1944)