Evening dress

Design House House of Vionnet French
Designer Madeleine Vionnet French

Not on view

This dress of pale pink lamé and black silk lace appliquéd with black silk velvet is from the personal collection of Mona Bismarck. American socialite Mona Strader was born in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1917, Strader married Henry Schlesinger, a Milwaukee businessman. That marriage ended in divorce three years later. After a second marriage in 1924, to James Irving Bush (the "handsomest man in America"), which also ended in divorce, she married Harrison Williams, an Ohio financier and multimillionaire. It was during their marriage that she became known as one of the best dressed women in America. Widowed in 1953, Mona married Count Edward von Bismarck, grandson of Otto von Bismarck, (the "Iron Chancellor"), whereupon she became the Countess Bismarck. Upon the Count's death, 15 years later, in 1970, the Countess married his doctor, Umberto de Martini, who, after his death in 1979, was discovered to have been commiting bigamy.

Evening dress, House of Vionnet (French, active 1912–14; 1918–39), cotton, metallic, French

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