Archive for December 24th, 2010

Chic Chicago: The Red Dress

Chic Chicago ran from September 2008 to June 2009.  In those ten months I probably drew three hundred to four hundred visitors, every one of them wearing one of the gowns in the exhibit.  By far, the most popular dress was the red evening gown from 1938, a design attributed to the French designer Marcelle Chaumont.  It had been worn by Mrs. Howard Linn, née Lucy McCormick Blair before she donated it to the Chicago History Museum.

A long strip of fabric (silk crepe) threads itself over the left shoulder, down to the right thigh, around the back, and back up to the shoulder.  Along this route a thin loop could be slipped through a finger of the left hand, allowing the wearer to ham it up when making an entrance.  Strike that, strike “ham it up.”  Let’s say, the Lady in Red made an entrance.  At any rate, that’s the only way I could imagine this dress. Entering and, maybe waltzing.

It was the dream dress of ten-year-olds and grandma’s; of the thin and the plump; of a shrink and a house cleaner; of Muslim and Moody Bible Christian.  I’ll show a few of those happy ladies in red here.

But, what is it about a red dress, exactly?  Has anyone made a study of its drop-dead allure?




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