Sunday, August 5, 2012

History's Runway: The Jean Patou Pink Sheath Gown, 1932-1934

Sequined Sheath Gown
Jean Patou, 1932-1934
The Cecil Beaton Collection at
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Could this gown be anymore perfectly 1930s? A long, sleeveless evening dress of tulle, the gown is covered entirely by hand-sewn pink sequins. With its draped bodice and pleated peplum accentuated by a gold sequined belt, this looks like a gown straight out of a Joan Crawford film. The skirt’s bottom hem is even adorned with a a trompe-l'oeil effect of pleats. Such sheath gowns were the height of early 1930s fashion, showing off a woman’s natural curves as opposed to flattening her out as the square, boxy, short dresses of the 20s did.

Made between 1932 and 1934, the gown was designed by Jean Patou (1880-1936) in Paris. Eventually the dress was given to celebrity photographer Cecil Beaton to include in the fashion collection he was organizing for the V&A. 

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