Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lovely Embroidered 1920's Dress

From the seller:

Stunning Rare ERTE ART DECO DRESS Silk Gold MUSEUM Worth PAUL POIRET Orientalist

We are proud to present this Rare & Stunning evening dress designed by ERTE (Romain de Tirtoff 1892-1990) for/with PAUL POIRET fashion house. If you are Erte collector this is a more than must have. Extremely rare find and should probably be in a museum. Superb Exotic French Haute Couture Art at its finest. Unbelievable gorgeous piece of Art Deco Fashion History. Handwoven Orientalistic fancy spectacular dress design with gold metallic thread, embroidered with extraordinary colors of pink, reds, greens, blues, yellow, purple Jewel tones on black net mesh fabric with Lavish Opulent intricate lace-like design on back..

The private estate noted/tagged the dress “Worth London Paris” - Meaning The House of Worth. Paul Poiret trained there before opening his own fashion house. Known fact that Erte worked with Poiret designing fashion dresses & costumes together particularly in the Orientalist style as seen in this dress. (Although both Worth & Poiret of equal value and importance to the Art Deco era – from circa 1920's haute couture). It is no doubt that the design & motifs are those of Erte. Unfortunately no label found on dress - most likely because of intricate lace work on back of dress that label would have been placed inside on slip part instead.

Condition: Detail Design Colors Outer Fabric -Very Good! Other: There are two tears/holes/rips on back just below shoulder area - see photos. The undergarment slip part, which you can see under the black netting, is not good - it is shredded & barely hanging on. Not significant to outer & overall dress design but label was probably on this and now gone. Remnants of slip will be included (if buyer wants to duplicate or replace slip same color). Bit of loose threading - minor. Overall in good condition. Colors very good. Do not know what size dress is. Most likely custom made, looks like meant to be a little loose fitting. Lying flat on one side measurements are: Under arms/bust: 21” /Waist: 20” /Hips: 30”/Length: 49”= top of shoulders to waist: 19” + waist to bottom of skirt: 30”. We like to be known for selling lower than you would find anywhere else!
Description: Extravagant, Elegant Flapper dress, Father of Art Deco. Original antique, roaring twenties 1920’s, theatrical, elongated clothes. Important artist high quality. See The Metropolitan Museum – the Costume Institute – under Paul Poiret dresses and costumes of other similar documented fashion. Keywords: Social elite, combined art and fashion Antique, bronze, statue, sculpture, Collectible original, party, jazz, Mata Hari, Orientalist, Paris France, Ballet Russes Hattie Carnegie Hollywood costume Artist. Smithsonian, peacock bird feature, Art Nouveau, Persian miniatures, gouache, jewelry, doll, poupee, detailed, influential artist of 20th century, Rare treasure. Balls, ballgowns. Georges Barbier Pochoir sketch.

More info on Erte dress costume fashion design:
In 1913, Erte was hired by Paul Poiret; it is here where he decides to change his name to Erte. During this time he also worked for the Gazette du Bon Ton. In 1914 he designed costumes for a scene called "La Musée Cubiste" in a Paris music hall revue, Plus Ça Change.
Erte then worked for Harper's Bazaar in New York; where his work was published from 1916 to December 1936. By then Erté had gained international reputation as the world's leading fashion illustrator. Erte’s style though influenced by the painting of the Pre-Raphaelites, and by floral and Art Deco patterns, had an original touch; perhaps the result of pictures he saw in the library of his father which included Sixteenth century Persian and Indian miniatures, from which he acquired certain precious decorative motifs, as well as a love for details and for gold and silver.

Erte's ambition from his early beginnings was to design for the stage. Through Poiret, Erté designed costumes for the Dutch exotic dancer Mata Hari, and also designed costumes and set the stage for a revue called L'Orient Merveilleux (1917); where Erté had full range of his imagination for oriental pantomime. During the 1920s and 1930s, he worked in both Paris and New York on the sets for the Folies Bergeres (he designed several costumes for Josephine Baker) and the Ziegfeld Follies. Hollywood also wanted him, and he created sets and costumes for The Mystic and La Boheme. He was very famous for his Alphabet, in which he used the shape of a woman to form each letter. From 1925-1926 Erté collaborated with the French magazine Art et Industrie. He designed utility household objects, lamps, furniture, and domestic interiors. Erté published an article about changing women's fashions in the famous 14th edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica (1929), among other projects.

Other article excerpts:
Erté's first theatrical designs were for famed courtrier Paul Poiret's Orientalist fancy dress balls and for Le Minaret, an influential 1913 theatrical production by Jacque Richepin that provided Erté the opportunity to express his prodigious sense of fantasy. His costumes was characterized by rich and vibrant color - color that gave the costume a commanding presence and confirmed its identity as a work of art. A designer's participation is critically important to the success of the costumes. Erté was involved in the smallest detail. His lengthy and illustrious career as an artist and designer included costumes for many operas in Paris and abroad from 1920 - 1961 as well as Hollywood movies and a long list of spectacular music hall revues in Paris and New York.

In 1913, Erte was hired by Paul Poiret; it is here where he decides to change his name to Erte. During this time he also worked for the Gazette du Bon Ton. In 1914 he designed costumes for a scene called "La Musée Cubiste" in a Paris music hall revue, Plus Ça Change. In 1914 the Prince Nicholas Ourousoff, a distant cousin, came to live with Erté and became his business manager until his death. During the late 1930s, World War II, and the 1940s, Erté was primarily involved in the theater in Paris, London, and elsewhere. His designs were acquired by opera, ballet, drama, and music hall companies, from the Saville Theater in London ("It's in the Bag!, 1937) to the surrealistic designs for Francis Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias in Paris (at the Opéra-Comique in 1947). In 1965, at the age of seventy-three, he unveiled thousands of perfectly preserved illustrations; they caused a resurgence of Art Deco in the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. On April 21, 1990, at the age of ninety-seven, Erté died in France. Erté described the degree of his involvement: "A very important part of my work for the (theatre) is devoted to supervising the execution of my sets and costumes. In fact I spend more time on this than on the designs themselves . . .For costumes, I have to select the fabrics, indicate the way in which they are to be cut, explain how the embroideries should be executed, and then assist at the fitting, supervising every detail. Although my sketches are very clear, I still have to give a great deal of explanation."

Erté's expertise as a costume designer was grounded in his apprenticeship at the fashion house of Paul Poiret, where the young designer learned the techniques of haute couture dressmaking. He was also a serious student of the history of costumes, and his theater designs were faithful to the silhouette and style of the period even when taking liberties with authenticity in fabrics of decoration in order to achieve the effect he envisioned. Fabrics of the earlier period were stiff and weightier, given garments a more sculptural quality. The lithe and supple fabrics of the Ballet Russes "Oriental" costumes profoundly influenced fashion of the day, inspiring a preference for soft textiles.


Romain de Tirtoff - raised as a child of the social elite, Erté moved to France at the age of 18 to work in the world's center of art and fashion. Beginning his career under Paul Poiret, the most respected couturier in Paris at the time, Erté went on to work for Harper's Bazaar for twenty-two years where he created more than 240 magazine covers. His reputation earned him the patronage of Mata Hari, Pavlova, and Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, as he became a major contributor to the fashions of the twentieth century. Erté began his work with the fine print media in the 1970's, publishing more than 180 of his designs through the Circle Fine Art Corporation and then numerous lithographs and serigraphs commissioned by various publishers. In 1979, the Smithsonian Institution organized a retrospective of his work, which traveled to many major museums across the U.S. and Canada. Erté has often been called the "Father of Art Deco," the style that came into vogue internationally in the 1920's. Erté defined it as a fusion of the curvilinear designs of Art Nouveau of the 19th Century with the Cubist, Constructivist, and geometrical designs of modernity. He was also influenced by Persian miniatures and would often use a brush with a single hair to complete his gouache paintings. His imagination was limitless, and Erté designed costumes, stage sets, jewelry, objet d'art, sculpture and ceramics. Unlike many artists who work freely before a canvas or sketchpad, Erté developed his own unique process: he would visualize the entire work of art in his mind until it was completed to every detail, and then create the work from his "mind's eye." At the time of his death at the age of 98, he was considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century.

From Me:

I won't go with the assessment that this dress is from the House of Worth just because some one added a note saying it is - or jump to the conclusion that it must be Erte because of the design, but it is a lovely dress.

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