Since we officially launched "Fashion Friday" on Antique Trader's Facebook page last year, I've posted many dresses and gowns from all different eras. Although we all seem to love the beautiful creations designed by House of Worth from the 1800s-1900s, the biggest surprise for me is that none of them cracked the Top 10. But these are the fashions that did make the list of the community's favorites from 2020.
10: Dainty Blossom
How adorable is this? I can picture the child who wore it constantly twirling, so that her hooded cape would billow out. This is a "Dainty Blossom" hand-painted silk ensemble by Daisy Stanford, circa 1925, now in the collection of the FIDM Museum and Galleries, Los Angeles. Hand-painted novelties, including dresses, scarves and ribbons, were popular in the teens and twenties and this three-piece ensemble features delicate hand-painted butterflies and a fairy driving a shell coach amidst daffodils. The name of the ensemble suggests that the fanciful imagery might be related to a fairy-tale.
9: Gatsby Glam
All of the glamour and decadence of the Roaring Twenties is successfully conveyed in this teal silk velvet evening dress that you can picture Zelda Fitzgerald wearing to one of her and husband F. Scott's wild parties. Featuring glass beading, metallic embroidery and rich Moorish-style embellishment, this dress is circa 1926 and was designed by the French company Callot Soeurs, one of the leading fashion design houses of the 1910s and 1920s. It is now in the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection at Drexel University in Pennsylvania.
8: Maple Leaves Fit for a Queen
This "Maple Leaf of Canada dress" was designed for Queen Elizabeth by her British couturier Norman Hartwell to wear for her four-day visit to Canada in 1957. The ballgown has a garland of green velvet maple leaves mingled with white roses, the emblem of the House of York. Each leaf is appliquéd with crystal and imitation emeralds; the white roses are formed with crystals, imitation white pearls, and imitation diamonds. Her Majesty wore the dress at a state banquet and reception (shown below).
7: Lakota/Teton Sioux Beaded Dress
This Lakota/Teton Sioux, Native American tanned leather and bead dress is circa 1870 and was possibly made in North or South Dakota. According to the Met Museum, vertical lanes of beadwork, in place of the typical horizontal configuration, give this dress its distinctive character. The U-shaped motif at the lower center represents Turtle, a symbol of power relating to women’s long life, good health and protection. Like most bead workers in the mid-19th century, the maker of this dress favored tiny glass Venetian seed beads over the larger pony beads popular in earlier periods.
6: Scottish Robe à L'anglaise
Scottish author Margaret Oliphant of Gask wore this robe a l'anglaise in 1745 to the Great Ball of Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. Here's an interesting story about how the National Museums of Scotland restored this mantua gown back to its full glory: https://hubs.li/H0y-9YL0
5: Silver-Gilt and Spangles
This satin evening dress trimmed with velvet was designed by Jays Ltd, London, circa 1908, and features silk and silver-gilt embroidered panels imported from Turkey. It also gets plenty of its sparkle from spangles, pearls and diamantes.
4: Haute Hungarian
The original owner can no longer be traced, but it's believed that this mid-17th century Hungarian costume belonged to either Hungarian Prince Pál Esterházy’s first wife, Orsolya Esterházy, or his second wife, Éva Thököly. Due to the cut and embroidery, it's also believed that either woman could have worn it at her wedding. Featuring a cambric blouse and velvet skirt, the ensemble has a pattern of Renaissance flower bushes embroidered in metal threads and is elaborately adorned with coral beads. The outfit was originally light blue, but is now grayish green.
3: Perfect for Welcoming Spring
Christian Dior designed this "May" ball gown for his spring/summer line in 1953. According to the Met Museum, Dior reveled in the paradox of the natural and the sophisticated, and the most telling example of this is how he would frequently present himself not as a man who symbolized the authority of French taste, but rather as a simple gardener. He designed May with flowering grasses and wild clover, rendered in silk floss on organza. This "simple" patterning of meadow-gone-to-weed is composed of the tiniest French knots and the meticulously measured hand stitches by his embroiderer, Rebé, who gave the dress an optical effect of a meadow's variegation.
2: A Marvel for Queen Maud
This delicate sequined silk-tulle evening gown, made in Paris around 1905, was worn by Queen Maud of Norway. In dusky blue and sea foam green, the gown is encrusted with gold.
1: Pretty in Pink
Your favorite gown of 2020 is the pink silk chiffon strapless evening gown designed for First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1963. Jackie first spotted a photograph of Audrey Hepburn wearing the original yellow version of this dress in a 1962 issue of LIFE magazine and asked her personal couturier, Oleg Cassini, to make it for her. Based on Hubert de Givenchy's 1962 sari-inspired design, Cassini created his version in pink, delicately beaded with porcelain and rhinestones. Jackie wore it to the opening of the Mona Lisa exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, in January 1963. She also wore it at the White House state dinner honoring President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan of India in June 1963.