1940s Black Jersey Dress with Novelty Umbrella Appliqué Studs

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This late 1930s or early 1940s black and gold rayon crepe dress has delicate gold-toned studs across the bodice in the shape of tiny umbrellas. We have never seen this on another vintage piece and this novelty design is perhaps a nod to the surrealist themes of the era. The dress is single-layered with a high, sculpted and pleated neckline. The ruched, cropped sleeves are finished with thin gold leather trim. There is a classic drop-waist silhouette and the skirt is finished with a gently flared, triple-layered ruffle hem. The back is closed with an exposed gold-tone zip which is original to the dress. Zips had not long been invented at this point and the height of fashion was to display these innovative new fashion accessories.

The dress is labelled by the Fashion Originators Guild of America (FOGA) which was an influential members-only trade group of designers and retailers. The collective designs were modelled to trade buyers in show rooms in New York City and sold at high-end department stores across the USA throughout the 1930s-1940s.

In overall very good vintage condition - no flaws of note for a dress approaching 85 years of age. We have spotted a few tiny well executed repairs which are only noted on close inspection and there is possibly an umbrella stud or two missing. It is true black and not faded as the label shots suggest. Due to its age, this piece doesn't have a composition or size label so please check the measurements below closely. We estimate a best fit for sizes up to UK 10 or US 6.


Bust - 37 in. (94 cm)

Waist - 30 in. (76 cm)

Hip - 38 in. (97 cm)

Length - 38.5 in. (98 cm)