Chantilly lace cocktail dress, 1950s
Black lace has been associated with romance and mystery for 400 years. In the 17th century, Spanish ladies appeared in the mantilla (a lightweight lace scarf worm over the head and shoulders) as shown in the portraits of the great painters Velázquez and Goya.
A well born Spanish lady led a more sheltered existence than that of other European women. Over time, black lace began to signify a woman who was desperately desirable but ultimately unattainable. Black lace conveyed to all a subtle yet unmistakable sexual tension.
Chantilly lace originated as a handmade bobbin lace, originally created in Chantilly, France in the 17th century. The lace is known for its fine ground, outlined pattern, and abundant detail (see 3rd picture down). After an eclipse early in the 20th century, machine made copies of Chantilly lace again became a favorite in the 1950s.
Its dark floral bouquets were perfect for the ultra-feminine styles of the 1950s. Chantilly both flaunted and covered up the female figure. In the 1950s, and often since then, that combination has driven men wild.
Our seductive cocktail dress is made from black satin covered with black Chantilly lace. The dress hugs the torso to below the hip, where the dress flares out in a full-circle hem flounce. The torso of the dress is lined with black taffeta. The skirt flounce is backed with stiff pellon and has an attached crinoline to support the shape. The bodice has boned seams for support. The dress closes in back with a metal zipper.
Much of the credit for the revival of Chantilly lace in the 1950s and its emergence into American pop culture must be given to the 1958 hit song by the Big Bopper:
Chantilly lace and a pretty face
And a pony tail hanging down
A wiggle in the walk and giggle in the talk
Makes the world go round
The condition is almost excellent. I found a few tiny holes in the lace near the hem. They are invisible due to the under layer of black satin.
It measures: 36" bust, 26 1/2" waist (room to let out), 40" hip, and 39" center-front length.