Beaded black lace dress, c.1918
Black lace has been associated with romance and mystery for 400 years. In the 17th century, Spanish ladies appeared in the mantilla (a lightweight lace scarf worn over the head and shoulders) as shown in the portraits of the great painters Velázquez and Goya.
A well born Spanish lady led a more sheltered life than that of other European women. Over time, black lace came to signify a woman who was desperately desirable but ultimately unattainable. Black lace conveyed a subtle yet unmistakable sexual frisson.
The dress is constructed with layers of lace and tulle over a black satin lining; and it closes on the side front with small snaps and hooks.
Undiminished by time, this vintage treasure still weaves its seductive spell. The bodice and skirt front are embellished with jet-black beads and sequins, adding sparkle to the black-on-black design.
The subtle refinement of the diaphanous design on the sleeves is beyond compare. The gossamer delicacy of the floral motifs have a magical allure. Here is a dress for a woman whose very manner and style intimates the seductive sophistication of the evening.
Masterfully applying the principle of contrast, the designer uses color only on the black satin cummerbund, which is embroidered with three shades of blue silk floss and gold tone beads.
The condition is almost excellent. The dress was gently worn. The bodice and sleeves have been backed with black tulle for support.
It measures: 36" bust and drop waist, 44" hip, and 49" from shoulder to hem.