Archive for January 29th, 2011

After the red dress (see posts for 12.4.10 and 12.31.10) the second most requested dress was the “Infanta” evening gown by Charles James (1906-1978), designed 1952.  It had been donated to the Chicago History Museum by Mrs. Nancy Epstein.  The bodice , which extended over the hips in a front and back v-shape, was made, not of satin or some other shiny fabric, but  of tiny, glittering black beads.  It must have been heavy.  Under the black tulle of the skirt there was a layer of peach colored tulle.  (Though I don’t know if tulle is the correct technical term here.)


Many mature women chose this spectacular dress.  It was also the most popular dress for girls under twelve.  For them I often recommended that they choose another color besides black, either pink or turquoise, and sometimes they saw my point but some girls stuck with the black.  Needless to say, they all came out looking much older than they actually were.


The word Infanta refers to the title of a Spanish princess in the 17th century.

Charles James adapted the Infanta style in other fabrics.  A more day-time version of the Infanta style is in the Met’s collection.  See  it at http://www.metmuseum.org/works_of_art/collection_database/the_costume_institute/infanta_charles_james/objectview.aspx?collID=8&OID=80096834







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