Object: Beaded evening dress
This image has Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons BY-NC-ND
You may download and use Te Papa’s images of this work as long as you meet the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives copyright licence. Fair dealing, as understood under the New Zealand Copyright Act 1994, also applies.
You must include the attribution credit provided when you download the image.
|Title||Beaded evening dress|
Unknown, mid to late 1920s, France
x 500mm (Width)
x 0mm (Depth)
|Credit line||Gift of A M Ollivier, 1997|
As it swayed back and forth, the beads and sequins in this dress would have caught the light and glittered in a delightful way. The contrast in materials is mesmerising – fragile, delicate, and supple silk is weighed down by hard, sparkling glass beads.
This evening dress imitates the elaborately beaded and fringed dance dresses that were in vogue during the mid-to-late 1920s. This was a time when popular, energetic dances required a short skirt to show the dancer’s legs. A heavily beaded dress would swing to the dancer’s rhythm, catching the light that bounced off its shiny surfaces in all directions.
Such dresses were made by skilled seamstresses and embroideresses who laboured many hours in the construction and decoration of ornate fabrics and garments. Bead embroidery was either sewn directly onto the fabric, or applied as ready-made trimmings, such as tassels, fringes. The beading on dresses such as this one was generally done before the garment was made up, on fabric stretched over a frame in a factory.
‘The one feature that prevails this season, beyond a doubt, is the straight line…All is freedom, grace and charm. Crepes, chiffons and all other light materials that help to idealise the form divine are used for these frocks… At the moment much depends on detail. Such trifles as shoulder straps of gold beads, girdles composed of jet and silver mingled with embroidery, deep fringes of crystal beads or strips of fur, frills of lace, and suggestions of the cloudiest tulle – all have an artistic mission. All help to achieve that touch of distinction which is so alluring’ (Ladies’ Mirror, 1 July 1922).
Results from DigitalNZ
Searching 27 million digital objects from over 150 content partners across New Zealand
- Miss New Zealand beaded lace dress - New Zealand Fashion Museum
- Evening dress: Mustard yellow beaded flapper dress - Dunedin Public Art Gallery
- Pink beaded tulle cocktail dress - New Zealand Fashion Museum
- dress - Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira
Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.