Vintage, but still bad

Unless your personal aesthetic demands that you look like a large, slightly discolored and inexplicably gift-wrapped eggplant, I don't think this 1932 Augusta Bernard dress quite lives up to the standard of elegance that one expects from a 1930s evening gown. It's good to remember that "vintage" doesn't automatically equal "pretty."

Click on the image to visit the Francesca Galloway site, which does have some actually pretty dresses for sale. (It looks like a gallery or an auction house, not quite sure which, based in Jermyn Street.)

Lately I've been looking in vain for a dress that I know exists — a court presentation gown made by Callot Soeurs, with ludicrously extravagant ribbon embroidery. And panniers. I know it's in the Met's collection, but I can't find an image or a link online. (It's a dress I often think of when I'm feeling a bit low and want to be reminded that things can't really be that bad if that dress exists in the world. Of course, now that I CAN'T FIND IT, perhaps things really are that bad!)If anyone knows what I'm talking about, please leave a comment …

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0 thoughts on “Vintage, but still bad

  1. Erin, I don’t think this dress is that bad. For starters, it’s not accessorized properly. The black gloves are wrong wrong! Matching green or brown gloves would be better. These gloves also look very 1950s to my eye – a shorter crocheted pair would be better. I think this would look better with a 1930s era style cocktail hat (with netting, of course). Give this ensemble a pair of knock out two-tone platform shoes, this dress would a knockout on the dance floor.

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  2. I meant to say this dress would *be* a knock out on the dance floor. I also used the work knock out twice. Forgive me, but I can’t seem to edit my earlier post.

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  3. I second Jonquil. Green often fades to brown over time. I have a vintage (somewhere in the ’39-early forties)dress that I can tell from the stiching used to be kelly green, and is now olive to brown (the color isn’t entirely even, but is such that it is wearable) So, this dress was probably a solid kelly green at one time. It seems that velvet tends to hold its color better for whatever reason.I would also imagine if it fit correctly, that would make a world of difference.

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  4. You know, if you guys keep being reasonable and right, you’re gonna ruin all my rants. :-)This *would* be much better with the right accessories, in the original color, and if it fit. Darn it.

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  5. Sorry to spoil the rant…I did find this dress in the met collection…I don’t know if it’s the one though… was another site that the description sounded like it could have been the one, but the picture was broken. :(Anyhow, I thought it was worth a shot!

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  6. ooh, that’s lovely but not the one. I know I have a pic of it somewhere, in dead tree format. I’ll just have to dig it out!

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  7. Erin, I DO know the dress to which you refer; I can even see it in my mind’s eye. Which, since it lacks a connection to your blog, is where it will stay, guiding me through many heaps of books until I can find a picture to send to you.

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  8. The dress you’re looking for was made by Boue Soeurs. I last saw it online in a private collection (I’ll have to dig to find the reference). I first saw it in a book on silk ribbon embroidery, and was made for the French Court Presentation circa 1923. It is gorgeous.

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  9. Here is one resource of the design. Although similar, it’s not the one. the image, left second row, that best matches my memory: is no longer extant, and the Beverly Birks collection has now been move to it’s own site: this helps.

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