Woman's Dinner Dress

B. Altman and Company, New York, 1865 - 1989

Made in New York, United States, North and Central America

c. 1914

Silk chiffon and satin with lace, tulle, bead and sequin embroidery, bead fringe, and silk flowers

Center Back Length: 47 inches (119.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Ann Pakradooni, 1974

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Additional information:
  • PublicationBest Dressed: Fashion from the Birth of Couture to Today

    One of the services offered by American department stores was custom dressmaking, which often included making up garments copied from French designs. Each spring and fall the store's buyers or agents would purchase models and designs in Paris; with each purchase came a memorandum indicating the source for the model's fabric and the yardage required for the gown. These Paris models were usually presented to special customers in separate departments, like Wanamaker's Little Gray Salons, that were decorated to replicate the experience a woman might have shopping at one of the exclusive dressmaking establishments on the place Vendôme or the rue de la Paix in Paris. This chiffon dinner dress, dating to about 1912, was custom-made by a department store; it came from B. Altman in New York and has the word "Paris" on its label, emphasizing the fact that it was based on a French model. Paris, however, was not the only source for designs; London, Berlin, and Vienna were known for their tailor-made clothes, especially riding habits and walking outfits. Dilys E. Blum and H. Kristina Haugland, from Best Dressed: Fashion from the Birth of Couture to Today (1997) pp. 20-21.