Mainbocher lame couture gown
An extremely representative 1930's Mainbocher gold lame bias cut gown. It is one of his most important and signature looks of that era.
Born Main Rousseau Bocher in Chicago, Illinois on October 24, 1890 he adopted a regal very French name, Mainbocher, a derivative of his real name, in 1929. Highly gifted in various aspects of the arts, he eventually went to Paris and became editor-in-chief of French Vogue. He went on to open his own couture salon in 1930 in Paris.
With his innate artistic ability and focus he was able to create an exclusive salon geared specifically to the very wealthy well-heeled Old Money European and American clientele that had always valued superb workmanship and cut, conservative but elegant fashion ... not to mention extremely expensive. Clients included the Duchess of Windsor, CZ Guest and the Vanderbilts, to name a few.
His beginnings in the 1930's started with the borrowed bias cut silhouette by Madame Vionnet which was the basis for his own simple cut evening dresses of the 1930's. As he later progressed in the 30's he used magnificent silks, velvets and expensive patterned fabric, all designed in the bias tradition with added embellishments of ruffles and trains.
This Mainbocher custom made, numbered, floral gold lame bias cut evening dress is an excellent example of one of his mid-1930's creations. What makes the construction particularly unique is that, rather than a one piece (or panels) bias cut dress, it is constructed in a combination of panels and pieces sewn together in a bias pattern. The lame floral material features muted colors of gold, bronze, peach, green, and silver. In lieu of a lining the lame is double faced with interior fabric identical to lame pattern but of rich colorful silk charmeuse which produces a wonderful contrasting effect. Since, Mainbocher was also an artist one can't help but wonder if this was most likely an original handpainted pattern. The extremely elegant yet simple slip dress displays a shorter front and stylish simple but dramatic fantail back.
Mainbocher's career spanned the 1930's, 40's, 50's and 60's. The height of his career is considered to be the 1930's.
Condition: excellent. Back, ruffle trim at bustline has become worn and unraveled. These problem areas have been professionally repaired and restored by backing. Some small areas of several panels had loose stitching and they have been professionally repaired. Single tiny tear on strap also repaired. Over 70 years old and still exceptional.
Numbered: 18 984
Bust: to 32"; waist: 24"; hips: 32-33"; length: 60"+. Fabric has a very tiny bit of stretch.
Acquisition price: $7,500 (U.S.)