Mystery Dress

Posted by in Emotional Blog

I am beginning to believe that Marie may have had some of her dresses made and also that she had a big say in their design.  As I’ve been going through her boxes I’ve found bits of fabric large and small that were obviously cut from other garments, mostly hems.  I’ve also found a couple of identical dresses in different fabrics that were obviously handmade.  And I’ve found a few unfinished garments.  The dress in this posting is the most inteteresting of the these that I’ve found so far.

It’s made of a nice navy blue faille.  It has a metal side zipper, so I’m calling it 1940s.  It’s a fairly basic ‘wiggle’ dress but it has these crazy tubes with big bell shaped ends decorated with fabric loops attached to one side of the back and front of the dress.  They’re almost like sleeves, you can stick your hand right up inside and reach all the way in to where they’re connected to the dress.

As you can see I imagine the plan was for these sashes to be looped around each other and worn on the hip.

I think this exaggerated hip embellishment is so interesting and sophisticated.  It might be a hard sell today.  I can just imagine a dress like this in action at a cocktail party in the late forties.  All eyes would be glued to this woman’s hips!

Was this a trend in those days?  There is another dress in Marie’s collection that suggests perhaps it was.  Look at this amazing dress, also from the 1940s :

It’s black taffeta with beautiful beading and velvet accents.  And it has this huge padded pocket sticking off the left hip.  I think it’s brilliant.   This dress doesn’t have any labels either.

I’ve done a tiny bit of research to see if this type of embellishment was a trend in the 40s.  I found some examples of 40s and neo-40s dresses here some of which have sashes or big pockets at the hip.  But nothing discussing hip details as a trend.

Getting back to my navy blue mystery dress,  Unfortunately the dress can’t be worn.  It’s unfinished!  it looks like it is missing a panel behind the front of the skirt.  Therefore the front is open.  You can see this in the picture below.

Too bad.  It also seems like the neckline is too wide and low cut to be practical.  So my conclusion is that Marie had a very skilled dressmaker with whom she collaborated on some of her clothes.  I know she didn’t sew herself because I asked her son about that during the buying process.  This amazing idea didn’t pan out unfortunately.

What do you think?  Do you know of any other 40s dresses with a strong hip statement?  Would you wear this type of look?