Rare c. 1912 Titanic Era 1910s Beading Evening Dress in Ivory Silk Satin and Net


  • Product Description

      This fairytale creation, c. 1912-13 is a rare beauty. The textures and draping are so compelling, filled with tiny details that draw you in. A Titanic era, early 1910s gown, it is made of oyster silk, satin and and lustrous, covered with fine silk net richly hung with beads. Seed beads of pink and white drape in lines, lattice and soft scallops on both white and black net. It evokes dewy spiderwebs among flowers in the morning. Asymmetry rules the design. The pink china silk of the interior peeks through the net at the bust, behind scallops of beads and above a tied net bow. 

      There are twenty-five external images of the gown - keep scrolling. If you wish photos of the internal elements, please send a message to inquire. 

      The draped back and draped asymmetry at the back of the skirt are my favorite elements of the piece. Tiny metal sequins chase the edges of the complicated overlapping closure on the bodice. It's so complicated that I actually  got it wrong in the images - the back left side of the pink should be one snap higher (it blends right in with the sequins.) At the back right side, the net sweeps up in a steep line, exposing the soft, lustrous folds and carefully "casual" tucks that create the tapered shape of the skirt. The dress is closed with both snaps and hooks that take some time to work out. If you purchase the dress to wear, please be prepared to get assistance getting dressed.    


      The waist measurement, when laid flat, is misleading. The weight and internal structure change it. This fits the size 6, 35" bust and 25" waist form as shown without pins. The waist can accommodate up to 27"

      Bust: 36"
      Waist: 31" fits 25-26” or snug 27”
      Hips: 50", due to complex draping, best for a maximum of 39"
      Length: 53"

      Label: None Present
      Materials: Oyster silk, silk net, china silk, glass beads, cotton net
      Condition: Exterior: Good plus Interior: Fair to Good minus, wearable with flaws

      This arrived to me with rather a lot of later beads that were added around the 1950s, as if it needed to be more decadent. I have very, very carefully removed them, but there are points at the edge of the net where you can see the weight of those beads stretched it a bit. Of the original overlapping scallops of beads that edge the bodice, some are clearly gown and we have re-affixed others, and there are still a couple small trailing remnants. The lower right front of the black net has one badly done mend that makes a scar, and another nearby hole.

      I believe all the tiny pink flowers used to have rhinestone or sequin centers - most are gone. A few were replaced in the 50s with plastic backed stones - the stones are sometimes gone from these, but the sewer made them hard to remove and they get hidden in the busyness of the detail any case. On the interior, there were some snaps and hooks missing, and I've replaced what can be replaced. The bottom of the china silk interior at back has pulled away where snaps long held the heavy skirt up, and some of those could not easily be fixed, but the internal pieces have plenty of other points at which they close, so it is not a great loss. The internal net has pulled away from the waist some, and has a few holes, nothing significant. 

      Overall, the silk that makes up the body of this dress is strong. I find no notable soil, scuffs or other flaws. The ivory net has tanned lightly with age, and has a few small holes down the front, but these don't stand out. It is a treasure to wear or display. This really is fashion as art.
  • Reviews

  • Product Details

    • Variant: Default Title
    • In Stock: 0
    • Product Type: Evening Gown