Egyptian Revival beaded satin flapper dress, c.1925
When King Tut's tomb was found in 1922, Egyptian-style motifs soon followed as decorative embellishment in fashion. The bold geometric style of the designs fit in perfectly with the prevailing Art Deco style of the late 1920s.
The graphic two-piece dress consists of a slip and tunic. The hem borders of both pieces are lavishly hand beaded with crystal beads and rhinestones in the Egyptian Revival style. Smaller motifs outline the neckline.
Costume history is the story of ever recurring cycles of fashion. It often revives, with minor changes, the dominant style from 50 years before, e.g. Dior's New Look of 1947, retrospective of the Edwardian mode. In the case of the Egyptian Revival style, the inspiration came from 5,000 years earlier.
The tunic has long beaded panels that fall from the back shoulders. Both pieces have side slits. The tunic slits are open; the skirt slits are filled in with pleated chiffon. The dress slips on without closures. The top part of the slip is of peach silk; the tunic and the slip border are of black satin.
The intricate design motifs have been arranged like aesthetic hieroglyphs that impart to the viewer a pleasing, yet enigmatic, message: high style chic with the exotic allure of the East. These motifs evoke the mysteries of the Levant and the legendary locales where one could luxuriate in pleasure—lands of sad haunting music, where sunsets reflected moods of passion, which had the color of lips and of poppies.
The condition is almost excellent. On the top part of the slip are a few stains, which do not show when the dress is worn and do not spoil the appearance. Also, there are a few pin-prick-size holes in the chiffon inserts of the skirt.
The slip measures: 36" bust, 40" waist, 44" hip, and 45 1/2" from shoulder to hem.
The tunic measures: 40" bust and waist, 44" hip, and 36" from shoulder to hem.