Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bustle Dresses in the 1950s

Bustle-style dresses in the 1950's are easy to spot. Dresses with the most Victorian influences had a ruffle, drape or bow detail at the back. The wide crinoline styles of Christian Dior are well known, but what is fun to spot are the slender bustle influences that also show up during this decade.

Twentieth century fashion saw a revival of Victorian fashion by the 1930's, with little back drapes topping crepe skirts in 1937 (see "The Women" by Adrian for examples). After WWII, Dior's "New Look" brought in a re-discovery of the hourglass figure, and a deep influence from 1850's and 1860's fashion.
The bustle styles from 1870 and 1880 decades were a natural development during the 1950's as fashion explored the slender silhouette. Often these dresses are nearly plain in the front view, saving the fuss for the back.

We were excited to find these two examples from the 1950's with charming back details. The blue lace dress is an amazing example of pattern design, and it is collectable for that alone. We love the floating back panel that is set at a flattering hip level in back, with layers of cascade ruffles from hip to hem.
Our plaid example has that school girl charm so familiar from movies such as "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944) and "Gigi" (1958). The dropped waistline in 1958 may have been the influence here.

Both dresses are available at our Etsy shop online: (or click on our photo display at the right),
or drop by the shop to try one one (we are also happy to have you just look at them and take in their gorgeous details).