Saturday, January 11, 2014

History's Runway: The Lady Glendoven Gown, 1938

Gown of Silk Tulle, 1938
The Victoria & Albert Museum

The American couturier Mainbocher created this gown of a fine silk tulle of pale green, pink and emerald green stripes.  The dress is decorated with circled and scattered sequins in coordinating colors. The metal zipper at the side of the dress has been colored green and pink to match the stripes.

As was the style of the late 1930s, the bodice is close fitting with cap sleeves and broad shoulders. The shoulders, however are not padded.  The designer was unable to use shoulder padding, as this would be visible through the tulle, so instead three pieces of boning have been employed, arranged in a fan shape to support each of the shoulders. The dress falls from a fitted waist into a very full, floor length skirt which was to be worn over an emerald green satin petticoat because of the transparent nature of the tulle.

Mainbocher established his couture house in Paris in 1929. He was Born Main Rousseau Bocher, running his two names into one to create his label.

The designer is, perhaps, best known for his 1937 design for the wedding dress of the Duchess of Windsor on her marriage to the former King Edward VIII, the Great Kerfuffler ™.  He was a favorite of Wallis Simpson and I could see her wearing this gown as she mercilessly teased anyone who crossed her and drank away the reality that she would never be Queen.

Speaking of Edward VIII/The Duke of Windsor and his wacky abdication, we’ve commemorated the scandal with our exclusive line of Abdication Kerfuffle ™ designs.  Check them out in our online store.  

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