#c350 $1,650Beaded gold lamé flapper dress, c.1924
Collectors of period clothing are often drawn initially to luxe antique textiles. Although modern technology has given us practical fabrics, we have lost the incandescent beauty of 1920s textiles. This museum quality evening dress is a treasure of early 20th century textile art.
The fabric is woven with a stunning black-and-gold Deco pattern lavishly embellished with crystal seed beads and gold-tone bugle beads. With rounded smooth ends, the beads appear more substantial than modern machine-cut beads with jagged ends.
The beads' slightly worn gold-tone wash brings out the highlights in the golden fabric. The gilded, glowing patina is the tribute that time pays to beauty, embodying the dazzling splendor of 1920s fashion.
On the scalloped edges are charming embroidered accents of black-and-ivory silk floss. The exotic geometric design ingeniously uses curvilinear motifs—circles, ovals, and swirls.
The skirt is attached to the slip, while the outer bodice shell is separate.Both pieces slip on without closures. The skirt is lined with plain gold lamé.
Whether the design was geometric (as here) or featured Orientalism's intense hues, Art Deco was always boldly graphic. Surface ornamentation—rather than silhouette—took center stage in this cutting edge style inspired by Deco fashion illustration.
The graphic black-and-gold combination was a favorite evening choice in the early 20th century. Conveying aristocratic luxury, this sophisticated palette never goes out of style with the fashion elite. Finally, black and gold have traditionally been royal colors.
The condition is almost excellent. There is very minimal bead loss that gets lost in the busy pattern.
It measures: 40" bust and waist, 50" hip, 22" from shoulder to bottom of the shell, and 44" from shoulder to hem.
The weight of the dress allows it to hang nicely on a variety of figures. It was photographed on a mannequin that measures 36" bust, 25" waist, and 36" hip.