One thing that can be said about fashion is that it’s cyclical: styles often are inspired by previous decades, and when they are, the results are timeless.
Take for example this 1970s Miss Elliette California gown. With its glamorous lines and elegant cut, it flows similarly to styles belonging to Hollywood starlets of the 1940s.
Pictured here in images republished by Marie Claire are Bette Davis (left, 1943) and Claudette Colbert (right, 1942).
Designs similar to these actresses’ looks could easily have been of inspiration to designer Elliette Ellis, who, according to the Vintage Fashion Guild, favored feminine looks and began her company in 1952.
Like the subject of my previous post, this dress was also a first for me in that it was the first vintage piece I purchased online. This is unlike other formal dresses in my collection, which all have been sourced by way of thrift and antique stores.
This Miss Elliette, however, (a label with which I was completely unfamiliar at the time), called to me and seemingly ensured red carpet-readiness if ever I needed such styling.
Besides exuding glamour, some of the label’s most simple and recognizable characteristics come together in this piece. Pleats, chiffon, and equally matched elements of both grace and whimsy are all present.
The gown is periwinkle in color, with an icy glow in its poly-satin bodice and sleeves.
The skirt—a somewhat lighter hue due to its airy material—is composed of a chiffon overlay, detached from the skirt’s lining and done in accordion pleats. This gives the dress motion and allows the slightly ruffled hem to swirl about the wearer’s feet when walking.
The dress has a very liquid-like quality and lacks any harsh or heavy construction. The relatively high zipper in the back coupled with shoulder ruching creates a narrow space for the lower neckline.
The waist sits above the natural line, but it’s difficult to call it an empire waist, which would traditionally come just under the bust. In this case, the sash that separates the rest of the bodice from the skirt begins there, a few inches below the edge of the neckline. From the center, however, it flows downward and out towards the hips.
Part-way up the zipper at the sash-like section are two sets of hook-and-eye closures. They are, in my experience, impossible to clasp on one’s own, but leaving them undone seems unnoticeable and creates no issues.
Not a single flaw can be found in this dress except for a very small hole hidden somewhere in the top layer of fabric. The label, of course, is still intact, as are care instructions, which seem to be rather difficult to come across with vintage pieces.
As shown by the popularity of similar styles from decades past, a design such as this is classic and utterly timeless. While I’ve yet to don it to an event, I have confidence that when I do, it will call back to days past while at the same time looking refreshingly “in.”
Has calling things “in” cycled back into being cool yet?