Evening ensemble

Designer Marguery Bolhagen American
Textile manufactured by Abraham & Brauchbar Swiss

Not on view

Marguery Bolhagen was a fashion designer throughout the third quarter of the 20th century. Many of her garments create a fitted structural silhouette which is suggestive of Charles James, who she worked for prior to opening her own stores in Washington D. C. and New York.

The striking contrast of black velvet floral guipure appliqué against ivory silk makes this garment unique. The mass of flowers with layered appliqué centers and accents covers the front and back of the dress and is carefully shaped to allow a clear definition of the silhouette along the edges. The dress was worn by Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, Jr., to a party at the White House in 1961, the first year of John F. Kennedy's term as president. It was later worn by Mrs. Hearst to Truman Capote's legendary Black and White Ball on November 28, 1966.

Austine Hearst was the third wife of William Randolph Hearst, Jr. (1908-1993), son of William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951), turn of the century newspaper mogul. She spent the war years hosting a radio show and writing a newspaper column about young society, which was picked up for national syndication after the war. She married Hearst in 1948, after a seven year marriage to Igor Cassini (1915-2002), brother of the fashion designer Oleg Cassini (1913-2006). She continued as a columnist until after her children were born in the early 1950s. The Hearsts were invited to parties at the White House, Truman Capote's infamous 1966 Black and White Ball and interviews with foreign dignitaries, to name a few. She was continuously on the International Best Dressed List throughout the 1950s and was inducted into the Best Dressed List International Hall of Fame in 1959. She first became a donor to the Brooklyn Museum in 1953 at the request of friend and designer, Charles James. Her first donation was comprised of James muslins and dresses. Thereafter, she regularly donated garments by famous designers such as Christian Dior, Madame Alix Grès and Arnold Scaasi, among others.

Evening ensemble, Marguery Bolhagen (American, Carlisle, Pennsylvania 1920–2021 Napa, California), silk, American

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