Beaded chiffon flapper dress, 1920s
This superb dress has been been in the private collection of a titled lady who trained as an opera singer and is still active in the arts. She acquired many pieces directly from well known figures in the 20th century arts during her student days. She chose this flapper dress to wear in one of her painted portraits. She is pictured in the first photograph below.
Beaded dresses from the early 20th century have a luxe beauty not found in contemporary copies. You will never be scratched by sharp jagged edges on antique beads. The dress is made from cream colored silk chiffon. The torso is embellished with a cobweb style design of white glass beads—some opaque and some clear crystal.
The fluid quality of the amorphous design accentuates female curves. The neckline is bordered with open work. The 1st picture down displays the key design motifs: geometric (male) shapes balanced against a graceful beaded oblong (female).
The use of primary geometric forms is characteristic of the Art Deco, which was at its apogee in the mid 1920s. The designer uses (4th picture down) beaded trapezoids, irregular quadrilaterals and triangles, pentagons, and rhomboids. However, even these male forms rarely have straight edges. It is as if the harsh geometry of Euclid has been trumped by the feminine principle.
The dress has a celadon green ribbon cummerbund at the hipline (4th picture from bottom). The hipline medallion glitters with rhinestones and silver-lined crystal beads. The bias-cut skirt, which drapes in soft folds, has a wide beaded hem border in a cobweb pattern with more medallions. The dress closes on the side with snaps.
The condition is almost excellent. I found one tiny, pale spot on the hipline medallion. The spot was not picked up by the camera.
It measures: 36" bust, 32" waist, 36" hip, 22" from the shoulder to the top of the cummerbund, and 45" from shoulder to hem.