Woman's "Mermaid" Evening Dress

Designed by Norman Norell, American, 1900 - 1972. Sold by Nan Duskin, Philadelphia, 1926 - 1994.

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

c. 1960

Metallicized plastic sequins on silk knit

Center Back Length: 60 inches (152.4 cm) Circumference (Bust): 32 inches (81.3 cm) Waist: 28 inches (71.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

* Costume and Textiles Study Gallery, Perelman Building, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Bequest of Ellen Biedlingmaier, 1975

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“In the evening you have to knock ’em dead with glitter,” proclaimed Norman Norell. His philosophy is evident in his most famous creations, all-over sequined dresses. Throughout his career, Norell made versions of these form-fitting gowns—which by 1952 came to be known as “mermaid dresses.” These expensive and eye-catching dresses are marvels of workmanship; each sequin was sewn to the silk by hand, taking up to 250 hours per dress.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.