Black chiffon evening dress with silver lace bodice, c. 1920. The dress has a fashionable low waist and a stunning long train. The asymmetrical neckline is ornamented with applied pearls; the skirt is slit up the side to the lace and is trimmed with silver metallic braid. It was worn by the donor’s mother, Ethel Sanford (1873-1924, Mrs. John Sanford), international socialite, or possibly by the donor. The one-shouldered styling and the long train are probably the work of one of the period’s top designers, however the dress is unlabeled.
Gift of Gertrude Sanford Legendre in 1979
At the time of the Legendre collection donation to The Charleston Museum, Cora Ginsburg was hired to appraise and identify the articles. Mrs. Ginsburg was one of the most respected authorities on antique textiles and clothing. Even after her death in 2003, the firm of Cora Ginsburg LLC is still one of the top in this field. Her comments on value and date of these items was most helpful to us for cataloging purposes. Regarding today’s black chiffon evening dress, Mrs. Ginsburg said “1920, unique”.
This gown is currently on exhibit in Charleston Couture.
TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection. Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday