Thursday, August 25, 2016

An Iconic 1959 Sheath Dress

Nothing could be more chic than the modern, sleek lines of a surprisingly flattering, form-fitting sheath. 

The Apple Print Sheath #917 (1959 - 1960) was a smart, figure-hugging dress that accented Barbie's every curve. The rolled collar and delightful print made this an eye-catching ensemble. The identical sheath was also paired with a black faille coat in one of the most coveted outfits from the 900 series, Easter Parade #971 (1959). It was Haute Couture at its finest!

Photo courtesy

The sheath saw its greatest popularity during the 1950's and 1960's. Its simplistic design gave the wearer a sense of glamour and sophistication. In 1962 Mattel created the Fashion Paks for Barbie that included the Silk Sheath (1962 - 1963). The slim skirt and fitted bodice were accented with a wider rolled collar and self-bow accent. The sheath was available in pale yellow, black, turquoise, red, green, white, and golden yellow. 

Bias rolled collar sheath pattern with interesting seam detailing designed by Luis Estevez.
Made by McCalls exclusively for The Quaker Oats Co., 1959.
Photo courtesy

A decade earlier, Dior created an antithesis to his New Look called the "Vertical Line", a sleeker sheath with fitted bodice and a longer, pencil-thin skirt. It often featured a scoop or boat neckline enhanced with collars and bows.

Photo by Gordon Parks, 1949.

The versatility and elegance of the iconic sheath dress make it a must-have for every miniature fashion diva's wardrobe.


The Models & Fashions:

Trench Setter Barbie from the Barbie Fashion Model Collection wears the apple print sheath from the vintage reproduction Easter Parade (1994). Bubblecut wig was borrowed from a vintage Fashion Queen. All from Mattel.

Holiday Hostess Thanksgiving Feast Barbie wears a vintage pale yellow silk sheath. Dress & accessories are from Mattel. Purse is from Randall Craig.

Trench Setter Barbie wears an OOAK periwinkle sheath ensemble from The Couture Touch. Purse & bracelet are from Randall Craig. Shoes & earrings are from Mattel.


Barbie Fashion, Vol. 1 by Sarah Sink Eames.

History of the Sheath Dress from the fashion archives at

The Second New Look of 1949 from

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