Friday, August 24, 2007

A Main Mainbocher

A Mainbocher is not something you see everyday. And when you've got one, bragging rights are most definitely something you're entitled to.

And has an exceptional one. A 1955 Mainbocher Striped Gazar Cocktail Dress with Provenance!

What a lovely one shoulder gown with the ivory and periwinkle striped fabric manipulated beautifully for visual interest. The bust is draped and darted, while the full skirt is suspended from a hip yoke and the waist is finished with a narrow attached belt. The construction is phenomenal, as one would expect from this designer. Handset zippers in both dress and silk petticoat, bust pads, boned bodice,and lots of hand sewing.

Provenance: Acquired from the estate auction of Taub Miller of Bloomington, IN. Miller was a Professor at IU, was also a diplomat with the State Department at the Federal level. His family in NY had connections in the Fashion Industry from the 30s to 60s. This dress was part of a 3 pc group, sent home to family, all in the same size and taste. One of the 3 was a Bergdorf Goodman Custom Salon dress labeled 7-15-1955 for Mrs. E.F. Hutton. This was the 3rd Mrs. Hutton, Dorothy Dear Metzger, who married E.F. Hutton, (1875 - 1962) the well known stockbroker. She married him in February1936 in South Carolina at the age of 28. Dorothy Hutton was described as dark haired and slender.

(1891-1976)Main Rousseau Bocher served in WWI as a Sgt. Major. He stayed in Europe after the war, and after a stint at Harper's became the fashion editor for French Vogue. Mainbocher founded his Paris house in 1930, becoming the only American to successfully run a couture house in Paris. He maintained the house until 1940, when he returned to New York. Mainbocher remained on 57th St. until his retirement in 1971. He died in 1976.

His beautifully made clothing with dressmaker details was always impeccable and proper, with a sense of decorum. His major coup was the Duchess of Windsor's wedding dress. He refined the beaded or embroidered cashmere sweater for evening. He liked to use materials in new ways, contrasting the formality of the garment with casual fabrics and occasionally the opposite. Mainbocher also designed uniforms for the WAVES, the Women Marines, and the American Red Cross. He designed costumes for Broadway as well -- including Blithe Spirit, Call Me Madam, and The Sound of Music. Mainbocher never licensed his name or work.

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