For those who don’t think I venture enough outside of the gorgeous, glamorous nylon lingerie of the 1940s – 1960s, here’s a lovely example of Depression Era lingerie that is anything by depressing.
A hand-sewn labor of love, this nearly antique silk nightgown remains in a remarkatlbe good-enough-to-wear condition. And, as the lovely Sarah shows, when worn seaside with a parasol, it’s one pretty picture.
Rather reminiscent of Joaquín Sorolla’s Strolling along the Seashore (1909) and leaving an impression as lasting as Claude Monet’s Woman with a Parasol (1875)…
Perhaps even more romantic and lovely, don’t you think?
As for the romantic nightgown itself, the sellers describe it as follows:
Here we leave the world of everyday people, window-shopping for free enjoyment, and enter another world, where the number of stitches per inch (spi) matters. In this case, somewhere between 13 and 14. This silk nightgown was made in the 1930s for sale in Neiman Marcus, a store described by Edna Woolman Chase as: “the perfect store for women.” The perfect store for women married to incredibly rich oil magnates because even the lowliest of the low would realise a silk nightgown . . . handmade . . . might cost rather a lot of money. Mondaine hand-made clothes and underclothes for women like Edna Woolman Chase and those with whom she rubbed shoulders. What today would be known as the über-rich. This time around, you need a surplus of disposable income to afford this nightgown but there are women for whom only the best will do. “And don’t try palming me off with any of that (insert top-of-the-range brand name) stuff!” When only the best will do applies today as much as it did then. Maybe moreso because there are far more oil barons and media moguls . . . and thus far more women who will need pleasing. Most of them wouldn’t know what’s meant by handmade luxury lingerie, so $100-worth of silk with ‘LOVE’ printed across the front will do the trick. For the one or two remaining readers who need to know, we will assuredly inform you. If you needed to ask the price, you couldn’t afford it.
The Mondaine label – embroidered, obviously – says it’s a 36. This is correct. Should you (or yours :o) have a 36” bust of regular upholstering, this will be a perfect fit. Probably more than enough room at the waist (36”) and somewhere in the mid- to high-forties for the hips. The cutting, the stitching, the embroidery, the everything was done by hand. One woman’s hands. In those days such talents were probably cheaply-bought but more than a week of one person’s life went into this nightgown and she could only have done work like this if she loved it. Needing the money wasn’t enough. Admire at your leisure the ecru lace adorning the hemline and, 58 inches above, around the shoulders and neckline. Front and back, of course. Admire the needlework in the dainty embroidery that prettifies the bodice and, maybe even more so, admire the needlework – totally unnecessary, surely to goodness – that finishes off the hemline’s detailing. Literally no expense spared, as was the way. The best part of a century later, every one of those stitches is intact. We occasionally say they don’t make them like they used to but, in this case, they didn’t make them like this then, either.
This is, quite literally, a unique garment and we do not expect to sell it in a hurry. We do not expect to sell it at all – because purveyors of quality clothing need the occasional exhibit to prove their claim. This is ours.
Nostalgic, dreamy, and oh-so feminine!
You can see more fantastic vintage lingerie, as well as additional photos of the lovely Sara wearing it, at The Dream Merchants II.