During the 1930s, films and film stars began to take a lead in influencing fashion, especially evening wear. A particular feature of these dresses was the way that they were cut 'on the cross', against the grain of the material. This 'bias-cut' method of making, using beautiful, slinky, fabrics, created the signature look of the decade. It was figure-hugging, flaring out at the hem, in contrast to the boyish shape of the 1920s. Most daring of all was the backless evening gown, seen in Hollywood films and on the red carpet.
This beaded, black, backless evening gown epitomises 1930s glamour. Probably Emily never got to wear it herself. It was too revealing and may not have suited the reality of her social life, where the highlight was yet another evening outing to a local charity dance. This fantasy purchase though, shows another side to the respectable housewife and mother, dreaming of another and more exciting life.