This incredible late 1910s dress is a beauty that is truly timeless. While you'd never see a piece made with this weight or these details today, it has a quality that would not look out of a place on the modern red carpet. Elements of the design were also replayed in the 1950s - it is a piece that owns a room, and has never let itself become dated, impressive for a piece made c. 1917. The piece is heavy - over three and a half pounds. It begins with beaded straps above a perfectly straight bust line. Extraordinarily dense jet beadwork, set on net, surrounds the neckline, drapes in loose bars of fringe over the bust, encircles the waist, and finishes in heavy, free hanging fringe over the hips. A second long swatch of floral beads and fringe, suspended by a sturdy black net, spirals around the draped skirt. The back offers complex draping with grecian influence, starting with a single shoulder, offering asymmetry favoring the back, left, and finishing with the long train, attached at the center between lapped layers of skirt. The train has a wrist loop (which I was able to fit over my very modern hands) so you needn't let it trail on the ground.
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Internal Waistband: 30"
Length: 48" to lowest point of hem, 72" to end of train
Label: Burdine & Quarterman, Miami, Fla, 300 & 302 12th St.
Material: Silk, Jet Beading, Cotton Net, Silk Chiffon internal lining
Condition: Good plus, as is
This dress has one particularly notable flaw, a common problem with jet beaded items, and that is the jet beads have off-gassed causing discoloration where they contacted the silk for many years. It is primarily, but not exclusively, the bodice, where the silk has changed from black to a rusty brown hue. The fibers aren't weakened at all from that - merely discolored. The weight of the beads has strained the net it is backed to at some points, mostly along the waist, and there are some older stitches that have secured most of that (one of them done in a navy thread, or I might not have noticed it at all. The silk of the label on the internal waistband is starting to break - I might suggest sewing a sheer fabric over it to preserve it, should you choose to wear this dress. The dress both wears and displays beautifully and is a truly exceptional garment.