Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Anna May Wong, 1956
Not on view
An evocative and glamorous example of the work of Paramount Studios costume designer Travis Banton, who, during the 1930s, also dressed Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, and Mae West, this dress was worn by Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong. While the dress may evoke the "cheongsam", a from-fitting traditional Chinese dress style, its construction is along the lines of high-necked form-fitting Western gowns from the Belle-Epoque period, but the dragon motif adds a distinct Asian influence, dazzling in its execution in gold and silver sequins on luxurious satin. It was designed by Banton for Wong's role of Tu Tuan in the 1934 film "Limehouse Blues." Wong was a pioneer for Asian-American actors and one of the few actors in general to transition from silent to talking films.