Friends, on this final day of 2012, many of you are no doubt dressing for glamorous New Year's Eve parties. Are any of you planning to wear something with a big taffeta flounce? (A little taffeta flounce?)
Whatever happened to flounces, by which I mean the huge bows, tulle drapery, and silk satin gathers that decorated so many dresses in the mid-to-late 1950's? Talk about drama!
For a short time these styles seemed to be everywhere and then suddened -- phfft -- gone. Much like the Detroit-designed tailfin or the "Mediterranean" TV console, by the mid-Sixties, fancy schmancy was on its way out and function on its way in.
Also, let's face it, a fanny flounce is hard to sit down on, while a long tulle train is easily caught in a subway or elevator door. Not practical for modern living.
The Fifties flounce I like best accompanies a skin-tight wiggle dress. This is a look you often see on those Italian and French-inspired Modes Royale and Spadea patterns. Do you know them?
I think these dresses looked best on extremely curvaceous women, though flounces can give a curvaceous look to those lacking the requisite shape too.
A search on Etsy will unearth only a few flouncy Fifties cocktail dresses. I don't think most held up very well as they were highly crushable and difficult to press.
To me these dresses recall a lost world of supper clubs, cocktail parties and corsetry. Occasionally a contemporary designer like John Galliano tries to resurrect the big flouncy look, but the result is generally costumey. There was a grace and restraint to the old styles that these new versions lack. Do you agree?
|Christian Dior, 1955|
With the exception of Laura Mae (just check out her flouncy vintage pattern Pinterest board) and Gertie (whose Ceil Chapman obsession is well-documented), I can't think of any sewing bloggers who are recreating these silhouettes (though the vintage patterns usually sell for big bucks). Can you?
In closing, readers, do you gaze upon these styles with romantic longing, disdain, or something else entirely?
Is the big flounce simply too dated for today, an embellishment best left for the dining room drapes, or is it time to throw some tulle over our shoulders and glam it up a bit?