1940’s beaded crepe cocktail dress with peplum

The 1940’s were remarkable for many reasons, but this dress tells a great story about why that is.  During the second World War, fabrics were rationed for the war effort and the cut of women’s dresses reflected this:  Skirts were not full, very few ruffles and frills were used, and women were encouraged to spruce up the same dress with scarves, pins, and other accessories.  One fabric extravagance that could be found was the peplum, and so it is with this dress by “Champagne” of New York:  Its very simple silhouette is not very different from the everyday cut, and yet it is clearly a sophisticated garment for a night of celebration.  This message is clearly communicated by the decorative beading at the collar, the slyly asymmetrical gathering and bow fashioned of the precious “extra” crepe-like fabric, the dramatically padded shoulders, and by the contrast between the matte black of the dress itself and the light sparkling off the beads.  Click here for more views and sizing.

 

1960’s black wool beaded women’s evening top

Shimmering and shiny, festooned and festive, this black all-wool evening top with scoop neck and straight-cut armholes is practically dripping with swooping scalloped patterns of beads and finished along the bottom hem with vertical beaded fringe.  Imagine the carefully-styled hair, the heavy eyelashes, and the range of cocktail glasses held by the people all around the woman who first made an entrance in this piece, accompanied by the sound and the sparkle of all those beads.   Made in Hong Kong!  Click here for more views and sizing.