Sunday, January 20, 2013

History's Runway: The Opal Holt Evening Dress, 1934

Evening Gown
Madeleine Vionnet, 1934
The Victoria & Albert Museum

One look at this elegant evening dress immediately puts one in mind of the beauty of the 1930s.  This gown was designed by Madeleine Vionnet.  Vionnet was celebrated for the structure of her gowns which relied on her innovative use of fabric which she "cut on the bias" (against the straight grain of the material).

This approach is evident here with this glossy silk velvet gown in black.  It features a cross-over, blousey bodice and trim skirt that weighs a mere 380 grams.

This dress was made in the designers Paris Fashion House for one Mrs. Opal Holt in 1934.

Opal Holt was born in Canada in 1887 but lived in the United States until the end of the Second World War. Holt was famously aboard the first plane to land in Bali. Opal's third husband, Herbert Holt, was a Canadian who lived a large part of his life in England. The couple travelled to England and Europe every summer so that Opal could shop for clothes. She died in 1980.

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