Tuesday, December 21, 2010

1955: The Year of the Pink Beaded Dress?

Jeff and I are leaving for Richmond on Thursday, and I'm intent on taking a hand-beading project with me. To that end, I've been stalking the V&A archives (a favorite pastime of mine, I admit) looking at gorgeous vintage dresses for inspiration. I found it interesting that three of my favorites are pink beaded dress from the year 1955. I just had to share!

The short dress above was designed for the House of Worth by Owen Hyde Clarke. The design is made by a combination of beading and applique for the white flowers. Have you ever seen applique look so elegant?
I also love the neckline and matching belt.
The second dress is also designed by Clarke for the House of Worth, so it's really no coincidence that it bears a resemblance to the first. But I did find it interesting that this look seemed to be a trend in 1955.
This one is floor length, and the white flowers are formed by beading rather than applique.
And for the third pink beaded dress of 1955! This one is by Norman Hartnell, whose designs I've drooled over before. I do like the little velvet jacket (how chic for a winter ball!) but I wish they'd included a picture of the spaghetti-strapped dress without it.
I don't think this beading is quite as elegant as the Worth designs, but lovely all the same.
Oh, and these pink beaded Dior shoes are from the late 50s, but I had to share:

Anyway, the V&A is a great place to search for inspiration. Just enter a term like "beaded dress" and before you know it, you'll have been staring at gorgeous gowns for an hour. Don't say I didn't warn you.

29 comments:

  1. From what I'm told, pink and black were the hot colors of 1955-6. My parents married in early 1956, and the bathroom in their first house was tiled pink and black (it was pretty cool). Love the ballgown styles of the 50s ... so chic.

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  2. The beadwork is pretty amazing. Have a Merry Christmas!

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  3. In 1953 Mame Eisenhower wore a pink and silver beaded dress to the Inaugural Ball-- It's in the Smithsonian. She wasn't considered a huge fashion icon, but she probably contributed to the beaded pink trend significantly. She was terribly popular with the public.

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  4. Wow, stunning. Now I wonder, what lifestyle does one need to live to find a place to wear these? I will ponder this and what elements from these dresses we can translate into current style, thanks Gertie, have a wonderful trip to Richmond.

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  5. The early 50s must have been a pink era - Mamie Eisenhower wore pink gowns several times, including her Inaugural gown from 1953. http://historywired.si.edu/detail.cfm?ID=314
    Considering Mrs. Eisenhower would have been 57 years old at the time, it's obvious that wearing pink was not considered the venue of only the young or even youthful.

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  6. I can spend hours wandering around the fashion section of the V & A. The Grace Kelly exhibition was fabulous.

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  7. beading is lovely but check out the fancy pattern work on the bodice in the first dress! I'm bowled over by the very curvy princess seam and the tuck where the "strap" meets the bodice (quotations because it's actually one piece) and the little surplice/tucked action at CF...wowee.

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  8. I love the style lines on the bodice of the first dress; the princess seams going up into the outside of the straps and the bust dart coming down from the inside of the straps. That would make a great drafting project.

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  9. I love these dresses Gertie and the color is delightful. Have a great holiday season and all the best for 2011!

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  10. The floor length dress with the white beading is beautiful. Wow! And, wow! I can hear it move.

    Have fun on your trip. :D

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  11. This video shows the beading of a Chanel couture dress.

    http://videos.nymag.com/video/480-3s0750#c=GPVWYS23VMRJ55Q1&t=The Making of Chanel Couture

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  12. Gorgeous dresses. I love those styles and the color and the beading. Could it be it was impressed into my brain because I was born in 1955? I love the styles of the 50's and just wish I had a shape to go with that style as I would wear them all the time.

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  13. I love that website... very drool-worthy.

    The shoes are dvine!

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  14. Pretty in Pink! Thanks so much for sharing. While in Richmond I highly recommend visiting the art museum and The Jefferson Hotel. They are both outstanding. Happy Holidays!

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  15. I love the V&A. Everytime I am in London I make sure I have enough time to just wonder through the galleries. I love the shop too.

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  16. The second one is so beautiful <3 Thanks for posting! It's inspiring... now I want to add beadwork to one of my upcoming projects :D

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  17. I, too, love doing random searches at the V&A website. I actually had that pink strapless dress set as my desktop background for a long time! I think it's beautiful and the craftmanship is exquisite.

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  18. love your images-- curious what you will be doing in richmond (va)? that is my hometown.

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  19. Lovely dresses - I was born in 1956 and have photos of my mum wearing similar styled dresses, though not so elegantly embroidered, and made by herself!!
    My favourite is the Norman Hartnell - I love the embroidery.

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  20. I wouldn't worry about not having the shape to wear those dresses, they all had heavy girdles on.

    All of the seaming and darting helped hold things in as well.

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  21. that velvet jacket is swanky. i can't wait to see how the lace dress turned out! sea of shoes did a contest interpreting spring fashion looks, and one artist did an adorable version of the erdem red chantilly that you've been posting; http://www.flickr.com/photos/janealdridge/5199129854/in/set-72157624942613335/.

    Happy Christmas!

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  22. I graduated high school in 1958 and wore some of these lovely styles. In fact, as a freshman in college I had a lovely pink brocade pencil skirted sheath dress which was too short for my (not stylish then) 5'9" body. After a couple of wearings, Mother snipped off some of the bottom, and added about 8" of pink satin pleating that matched the pink satin in the bodice. I also had several dresses with the full skirts supported by hugely ruffled petticoats that Mother artfully beaded or embellished some other way. There were many formal dances for us to attend in high school and college. Pink and black were very fashionable (think Elvis). One of my friends had a pink frothy floor length formal creation that my mother kept in her mind and recreated for my (way) younger sister 13 years later for her senior prom. The 50's were a wonderful era in which to grow up. In our small town, we were very much like the original "Happy Days" cast (if you recall Ricky Cunningham and Fonzie). Pardon my rambling on....

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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