Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Daily Dress: Dior Cocktail Dress, 1957

I suppose it's Satin Week here at The Daily Dress! (That's just like Shark Week, only less carnivorous.) But this dress isn't just any old satin: it's satin-faced silk organza. And since we're also discussing silk organza today, I thought this dress was especially apropos.

Have any of you worked with satin-faced organza? I haven't, but I've seen it at various shops in the Garment District. It has a pronounced sheen and more opacity than regular silk organza. Here's some more info on the fabric, according to NY Fashion Center Fabrics:
Silk satin face organza has the lightweight feel of organza, with a smooth, satin finish. Produced with tightly twisted threads like its sibling, the fabric is less transparent than regular silk organza and has a fuller body, but retains the crispness and drape that has made organza a perennial favorite. Used primarily as a liner or volumizer for evening wear, silk satin face organza also works wonderfully in blouses, summery skirts and home d├ęcor. As with most silks, hand washing or dry cleaning is recommended.

The silhouette of this dress is striking, as with all Dior designs of the 1950s. According to the V&A Archive, where this dress resides:
Dior wrote that ‘many a dress of mine is born of the fabric alone’, and in this dress he manipulates the luxurious, crisp satin organza to great effect. The bodice is complemented by a simple skirt. Full and short, its bouffant shape is pleated into a tight waist and supported by four layers of net petticoat beneath, the innermost reinforced by horsehair stiffening.
I would pay good money to see how that "horsehair stiffening" is constructed and applied. And to peek inside the bodice. And, of course, to have such a glorious cocktail dress in stunning raspberry silk.

See you back here tomorrow for the exciting continuation of Satin Week!

18 comments:

  1. The bows are a bit much for my taste, but other than that, the dress is to die for !

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  2. I am loving Satin Week and this dress in spectular. I would wear it in a heartbeat.

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  3. Oooooh! GORGEOUS! I love satin and I love the raspberry color!

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  4. Love love it. Why is my traffic girl so fashionable? Today she is wearing a lilac satin dress delivering me the skinny on where not to go. I even think her sky cam clicker is LILAC!!!

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  5. Oh my - how lovely to consider the qualities of satin-backed organza (I did not know it existed!) while feasting the eyes on this dress. Dior certainly did manipulate the fabric to great effect. The folds in the bows and pleats are just delicious.

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  6. Somehow it makes me think of 2 patterns: Vogue 1230 and Vogue 2943.

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  7. Love the dress and satin fabric must be gorgeous. I'll have to ask my mom-in-law about horsehair stiffening. She worked as a dress designer assistant at Milgrim's on 5th Avenue, a well-heeled dress house near Bergdorf's, back in the early 50s! I'm sure they used these materials. Thanks for posting this wonderful dress. These times need styles like this! Classy!

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  8. What a fab dress! The bows give a it similar look to the red Susie Brown dress in previous post!?

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  9. Oh, it's gorgeous! I wouldn't call myself particularly girly, but I would wear that in a heartbeat.

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  10. 1957, which would make it one of the last he designed, as that's the year he died...

    I've never thought that closely about all the different types of fabrics and what they do, but you really make me feel I need to go to a proper fabric shop, check them out and learn about them!

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  11. Ahhhhh, Dior! Oh I love it so much, the bows, the neckline, the skirt. I smell a vintage reproduction coming up. I need a dress for a wedding!

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  12. Delicious fabric, gorgeous color. It's a winner!

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  13. I'm off to the V&A in May with a gang of other sewing ladies from The Sew Weekly sewing circle, I'll try and get you pics if they let us!

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  14. Horsehair stiffening would have been inserted like nylon horse hair braid--around the hemline as you showed in your earlier post this week. I have seen it as wide as 6", so it would really create a nice shape to the skirt.

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  15. I was at the yves saint Laurent retrospective in Paris this past summer and was surprised to learn the deep influence Dior had on YSL. I would love to see some satin faced organza! Wow! I did a piece on Madame Vionnet on my blog sewcountrychick
    You should check it out. She was great! I love your blog.

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  16. That dress is just beautiful! I'd love to make something like that myself but I don't think my abilities are up to it yet. Do you know what stores offer dresses like these? I'm looking on http://www.gatheringguide.com for something just like this if I can find one.

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

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