Suzy Perette evening dress, late 1950s
In the 1950s, American women who could not afford couture but wanted the Paris look loved the Suzy Perette dress company. Every season they could expect to find beautifully made, affordable copies of the real thing from Perette.
The signature black velvet and taffeta theme has the sexy yet demure style incredibly popular at the time. The dress features a plain apron-front style of black velvet that opens in back to expose the elaborately draped taffeta skirt. A large red silk rose at the center-back accents the skirt. The bodice is interlined with synthetic faille; the skirt is interlined with stiff pellum. The dress closes in back with a metal zipper.
Velvet, the most sensual of all fabrics, has long had a special resonance for me. The word comes from the Latin "vellus" (fleece). But it is black velvet that rules the imagination, evoking half-conscious images of Renaissance royalty garbed in "the aristocrat of stuffs" (Fortuny).
What a delight to discover that Marcel Proust shared my passion for velvet! In Remembrance of Things Past (1913-1927), the night that Odette and Swann became lovers "she was wearing, under her cloak, a gown of black velvet..."whose velvety surface had a sensation of softness like skin. The velvet was "a reflection and manifestation of desire."
The dress has a "Lord & Taylor" label as well as the "Suzy Perette" label.
The condition is excellent and wearable.
It measures: 36" bust, 28" waist, 40" hip, and 55" from shoulder to hem.