Mauve Evening Dress

Marjorie Van Wickle Lyon’s Evening Dress, 1932


In the thirty years since Marjorie’s pink party dress (shown in the first exhibit case) was fabricated, styles and construction changed considerably. Trains disappeared, and punishing boned support gave way to comfortable ‘slip’ dresses. Marjorie’s full-length evening dress from 1932 is a clear example of this transformation.  Ready-made fashion had become convenient and respectable, and this gown was purchased from “Miss Ethel Inc., Gowns, Importers. 54 West 57th St., New York.”

The dress fabric is cotton with metallic yarn. The weft fiber is mauve-colored cotton; the warp is thin gold-colored metallic yarn. The gown is heavily embroidered with rolled threads of silver metal with a cotton core. The separate, full length, bias-cut slip is crepe-backed silk satin. The dress has short ‘flutter’ sleeves, a round front neckline with fabric drape detail at center front, and a V-shaped back neckline. The skirt has a long bias-cut gore at the center front, with side panels overlapping in the back. A stunning burgundy silk velvet bow trims the back waist and has a tail that extends to the floor.

Conservation sponsored by Patricia Ley and Susan Gimblet

Conserved by ConText Inc., February 2017