This lovely 1920s flapper dress was sold on eBay by USVainen, a past seller whose knowledge of vintage fashion was astounding and whose descriptions were delightful. This seller graciously agreed to let me share her images and words on my site, and I think you’ll enjoy them as much as I have!
The beauty of this dress is that it decorated in very light shades of pearl and iridescent beads in an elaborate lace-type of pattern. The very soft colors of the pearl beading is set in flourishes and cameos that pay interesting homage to the intricate decorations of Victorian fashions. It is obvious that the this particular beading pattern was the 1920s fashion interpretation of Battenberg lace and this dress is a remarkable piece for its very romantic lines and coloring – the fashion antithesis of the roaring 20s decade. The pearls were set in such a way that they gave the foundation and appearance of lace and then darker iridescent beading was used to provide shadow highlights and give the bead-lace definition when viewed from someone other than the wearer. When viewed from a 2+ foot distance, the dress almost appears to be made of chiffon and lace – a testament to the skill of the dress’ designer.
This dress was obviously made in a style very far removed from the hard angles and lines of the in-vogue art deco fashions of that time period and was constructed specifically to bring out the beauty, grace, and femininity of the wearer. This dress is less about sparkle and glamour and more about reinstating a lost elegance to the age.
The construction of the dress attests to the care that was taken during its creation. The dress is comprised of two cuts of dusty rose chiffon – a top sheath and a separate bottom section to create fullness at the hips and to flare the hemline. The seams at the joining of the top and bottom were sewn together in a curve that matches the cut of the beaded design in the dress – making it obvious that the dress was not made as a simple sheath and then beaded with a cookie-cutter pattern (which, unfortunately, was how many dresses were made in the period of the great industrial age in America – an age that translated into machine produced textiles that heralded a great productivity but took America away from individuality and workmanship). This was obviously created specifically for an individual with their personality and style in mind. I don’t find any breaks in the pearls or in the long iridescent beads – it appears the beading pattern is nearly intact in all places, including the cameo-like clusters at the neckline and waist.