Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dinner Suits

Dinner suits made their appearance towards the end of the 1930's.  The early ones consisted of a short jacket often embroidered or beaded and a long, matching skirt.  Fabrics included crepe, wool, velvet and boucle.  The designer most associated with the dinner suit was Elsa Schiaparelli.

This fabulous jacket is from Schiaparelli's Modern Comedy Collection, Spring 1939.  It was originally worn over a slinky black evening dress. I would wear this today over a black skirt or pants or even jeans!  Black velvet patches embellish black wool with black buttons in the shape of harlequin masks add a touch of whimsy.  Image from "Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli", The Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The striking "Black Widow" Madra Lord strikes a pose in this marvelous dinner suit from "Jackpot".  It was from Ashton Drake's final Gene Marshall Collection.  Wine taffeta is accented with matching velvet bow and hemline flounce. Accessories included a hat (not shown), muff, gloves, and shoes.  The storycard indicates that it is circa 1947. However, I found an illustration of the suit in a 1941 issue of Vogue.

This is the illustration from a fashion spread promoting the American Haute Couture in the September 1941 issue of Vogue.  The dinner suit is black silk crepe and silk velvet accented with green muff, shoes and ostrich head-dress.  No particular designer was credited to it.  It was from the American Autumn Collection.  Salon Moderne, Saks-Fifth Avenue. 

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