Sunday, August 17, 2014

1930'S/1940's Costume Piece (?)

From the seller:

Stunning Victorian 1840's ladies velvet and crystal bodice jacket: Absolutely remarkable ladies' antique velvet bodice, tagged "Mrs. B. Tracy...New York." Very little staining, no tears I can see. Handmade trim hand-basted on, hook and eye closure with all intact. Some deterioration to the silk and trim which is shown in the photos. A wonderful study in the history of clothing and costuming from the early Victorian era and before.

From Me:

So the things that give away that this isn't 1840's immediately - the seam finishing, the lining, the sleeves, the waist tape, the machine sewn everything, ect.

It's much, much later than 1840's - the way the seams are finished really doesn't come about until the Turn of the Century - and stays around for a while. I have some mid 20th C evening gowns that have similar seam finishes (those turned backed, curvy seams with some light boning) so we aren't dealing with anything older than very late 19th century immediately. The machine stitches give that away too.

The sleeves are so late 1930's/early 1940's, it practically screams "Gone with the Wind" - which I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if this was a bodice from one of the "extras" in that film. (A lot of the dresses in that film had 1930's aesthetics added to them to make them more palatable to the 1930's audience. You know, like the converse shoes in Marie Antoinette - to make it seem more "modern" and understandable to us American Idiots. Yeah, I have issues with that movie....)

Anyway, the sleeves - those little rhinestone buttons, the turn up cuff, very 1930's/1940's. Here's a crop from a 1930's catalog that shows similar sleeves to the ones on this bodice:

You can see the similarities, particularly in the one on the left.

The trim is also way too Vegas show girl to be anything other that 20th century. So, my guess is what we are really seeing is a truly amazing 1930's/1940's costume piece and not a real thing (I looked up a Mrs. B Tracy's and there is a Mrs. Tracy's that sells costumes near Broadway. I wouldn't be surprised if they just dropped the B over the years...)

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