Louiseboulanger (French, 1878–1950)
Gift of Mrs. Wolcott Blair, 1973 (1973.6a,b)
This 1928 dance dress perfectly evokes the planar silhouette of the 1920s. It falls straight from the shoulders, with acknowledgment of the bust rendered only in the fullness of the fabric at the top of the dress and then partially obscured by the matching scarf. The hips have also been swallowed into the straight line of the dress. The low "waist" created by the feather trim is practically no waist at all. Although corsets which helped to create this silhouette were available in the 1920s, the ideal situation was that one not be required to achieve it. Dancing, especially frenetic dancing like the Charleston and the Bunny Hug, was particularly popular in the 1920s and the range of motion allowed by the loose, planar dresses encouraged the activity. The feather trim used by designer Louiseboulanger for this dress would have lent dancing particular drama. Made of individual filaments of ostrich plume knotted together to form longer strands, each feather is dyed a different tone for the effect of an ombré cascade.