Monday, January 16, 2012

History's Runway:  The Miss Emilie Grigsby Fringe Dress, 1925

The Victoria & Albert Museum



This short, jazzy dancing dress is alive with orange silk velvet.  It features a straight-cut, low-waisted,  low-cut, sleeveless bodice and a skirt comprised of two rows of tapering pointed knee-length streamers, each attached to the bodice via decorative stitching: the topmost is of orange velvet stitched in beige, the lower of peach velvet stitched in pink.

Each streamer is edged with fringe of gold beads and lined in a brilliant yellow silk. A narrow sash in orange is lined with peach velvet to match the lower set of streamers.

The height of Jazz-Age chic, this gown was made in France circa 1925 by the designer Voisin and was worn by Miss Emilie Grigsby (1876-1964), a wealthy American who came to England from New York.

Grigsby established a salon and was considered to be one of the great international beauties.  Her ghostly pale, almost transparent, skin and golden hair were as much admired as her avant-garde style.

This dress, part of the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, perfectly reflects the spirit of mid-1920s fashion when a woman's gown was an extension of the dances she loved and her spirit of freedom.


No comments: