Beaded evening dress

About this object

This beaded evening dress is a classic 1920s' look. Women's clothes in the decade after the First World War were dramatically different to those that had gone before. Skirts were shorter, but one of the main changes was to the shape of the female figure. As we see here, curves are reduced and the waist and hips flattened into a simple tube shape.

Paris fashion houses were very influential in setting these trends and big names like Coco Chanel, Jean Patou and Jeanne Lanvin vied with each other to show the best collection. French fashion reached Liverpool, and Emily had many beaded evening dresses like this one, hand-made in Paris by Gerlaur in about 1925. The dress uses the silver beaded design to dramatic effect.

The dress itself is made from silk crepe with a bespoke rayon jersey slip underneath. Rayon was the first artificial textile and had only been developed for garment making in the early 1920s. This silky, soft fabric was ideal to create the quintessentially 1920s' look which you see here.
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