Lace dress and bolero ensemble, late 1930s
The stylish bolero jacket for evening wear in the late 1930s sent a mixed message. It demurely covered the bust. However, the bolero stopped short at the waist, revealing a sexy dress clinging to the body over the hips.
The figure flattering dress accentuates the bust, skims the hip, and flares out below the knee. The fluttery, bias-cut sleeves—cut in one with the bodice—are comfortable on a hot day. The dress closes on the side with a metal zipper. The bias-cut bolero is open in front and is longer and flared in back.
To make fabrics reveal form and respond to movement, Madeleine Vionnet invented the bias cut in 1922. Thanks to 1930s movies (The Thin Man), we associate the bias cut with expensive, high style evening wear. Our sexy ensemble opened my eyes afresh to the brilliance of Vionnet's invention.
The cotton lace is fairly sturdy and easy to wear. The leaves in the pattern are outlined with silk threads that add sheen to the design. The lace is sheer and will need a slip.
This enchanting ensemble succeeds in the difficult task of recapturing a past hidden outside the realm of the intellect but embedded in a particular antique garment.
The condition is excellent and wearable.
The dress measures: 38" bust, 30" waist, 40" hip, and 55" from shoulder to hem.
The bolero measures: 40" bust and 20" center-back length.