Monday, February 13, 2012

Pink 1920s Robe de Style

When most people think of 1920s fashion they probably think of the iconic short, often beaded or fringed, flapper dress. While this was indeed a popular style of the roaring 20s, it was not the only one. The robe de style was quite popular too and is often attributed to Parisian designer Jeanne Lanvin (1867-1946).

       "... Called a robe de style, the upper portion of the dress is slim and close-fitting, while the skirt is full and rather long. The fullness in the skirt is a result of built-in panniers at each hip. These built-in wire structures, shaped like small baskets, extend the line of the dress horizontally, emphasizing the hips. This look hearkens back to the 18th century, when panniers were worn on a regular basis by European and American women. This historic reference was noted by American fashion writers who often referred to the robe de style as a “quaint” or “period style” dress." -From FIDM Museum & Galleries blog.

In keeping with the color pink for the month of February, I would like to share two photos of a very pink and fluffy robe de style in my personal collection. There are mini side hoops sewn into the gown just below the waist to give it that boxy shape. I believe the hoops are metal but it's hard to tell as the hoops have a fabric covering. I acquired this gown from a local auction house several years ago. It came in a box lot with a bunch of other stuff. I hate to admit it but I almost didn't keep the dress. At the time I had just started collecting antique and vintage clothing and I had no idea what this piece was. Some of you may know that I've never really been fond of the color pink and this gown was just so, well, PINK! I'm glad that I did keep it though, I can really appreciate it now. Just because a piece is in poor shape doesn't mean it's no longer beautiful or useful. Some of the best examples of antique and vintage clothing out there are what most collectors would call "study pieces" - i.e. not wearable and not suitable for display.

Over all condition - Poor
1920s robe de style from my personal collection.
The silk, which is paper thin and very crisp, is split near the shoulders, underarms and side opening. There is under arm discoloration, most likely from sweat. The net flounces are torn in several places and slightly soiled. There is no lining to this dress so it was most likely worn over slip; white or maybe pink to match.

I had to be very careful putting it on the dress form. The dress is my size but sadly not wearable. :( One of these days I'll get around to drafting a pattern.

Close up of the bow
It's not pink but here's another example of a robe de style. Katherine of The Fashionable Past made a stunning reproduction of this gown. You can read about her creation here.

I always thought this example looked a little bit like my own, only less fluffy. ;)

It's not a robe de style but this pink evening dress at the MET is too pretty not to share. Using the zoom feature you can see that the entire gown is covered in tiny beads. Even the roses are all bead work. Simply amazing!
Evening Dress, MET 2009.300.1358

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing the one from your personal collection. I'm researching these since I'm strongly considering attempting the making of one soon. =)


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