Caftan-style evening dress, 1920s
The caftan style, derived from Middle Eastern cloaks, was embraced by the fashion cognoscenti of the early 20th century. An ethnic motif added drama and mystery to the design and warranted the sophistication of the wearer.
The fetching silk ribbon flowers and the simple but ingenious construction create an irresistible feminine appeal. The garland of silk ribbon flowers with bronze metallic edges is a work of art. Zoom in on the flowers to appreciate the compelling verisimilitude we cherish in the graphic arts.
Collectors are often drawn initially to the splendor of antique textiles. Although modern technology has given us practical fabrics, we have lost the beauty of the amazing textiles used in the 1920s. This magnificent dress is a treasure of early 20th century textile art.
The caftan is embellished in front with a wide panel of gold metallic lace. The sides of the panel are open; inside bands at the waist connect the front to the back. I recently sold a caftan-style dress by the great couturier Madame Babani. Our evening dress might have been inspired by the Babani version.
The gold metallic lace confers the gilded, sumptuous look that Baudelaire had in mind in his bon mot : "You must be gilded to be adored." That has been true at least since the time of Antony and Cleopatra 2200 years ago.
The condition is almost excellent. The metallic lace panel is slightly oxidized on one side. This is an asset rather than a detriment. The patina is the tribute that time pays to antique beauty.
One size fits all for the caftan. It is 50" long from shoulder to hem.
The slip measures: 36" bust and waist and 44" hip. You can have a different slip made to fit your size if necessary.