Dress

1950 (made)
Dress thumbnail 1
Dress thumbnail 2
+2
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Lady Alexandra Howard-Johnston (later Lady Dacre) was the wife of the Naval Attaché to Paris at the end of the 1940s. She required an extensive wardrobe for the many formal dinners and state functions that she had to attend.

Lady Alexandra dressed exclusively at Jacques Fath (1912-54). She was fortunate enough to share the physique of Fath’s models and was given some dresses originally shown at the collections. One such was this day-dress in shades of grey, which she wore to the unveiling of a statue in honour of her father, Field Marshal Earl Haig, in Montreuil-sur-Mer in 1950. The dress was only altered by Fath in order to fit Lady Alexandra during one of her pregnancies. The scarf, she wrote, was 'very suitable for my condition'.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gabardine
Brief Description
Day dress in light-weight gaberdine, designed by Jacques Fath, Paris, 1950
Physical Description
Semi-fitted day dress in three shades of grey light-weight gaberdine. Top is of an intricate construction with long sleeves, with underarm gusset, terminating in pointed dark grey cuffs. High roll neck collar crosses at the front and the left side becomes a long and wide falling scarf which is interfaced. The dark grey skirt has a slanted waist, with a band of medium grey, as echoed in the scarf. Pocket in the right front with button. Top of the dress has an understrap attached to the left shoulder, fastening to collar right, and down the left side of dress with hooks, followed by a zip fastening. Two shoulder pads.
Dimensions
  • Waist circumference: 63cm
  • Footprint diameter: 40cm
  • Weight: .92kg
Production typeHaute couture
Marks and Inscriptions
'Jacques Fath / Paris' (Label, machine woven, blue on white)
Gallery Label
Dress and hat Jacques Fath (1912-54) Paris 1950 Lady Alexandra shared the physique of Fath's mannequins and was given some of the model dresses. She wore this ensemble to the unveiling of a statue of her father, the First World War commander Field-Marshal Earl Haig. Fath then altered the dress for one of Lady Alexandra's pregnancies. The scarf, she said, was 'very suitable for my condition'. Dress: gabardine Hat: felt Given by Lady Dacre V&A: T.182, 186-1974(22/09/2007)
Credit line
Given by Lady Alexandra Trevor-Roper
Object history
Lady Dacre wore this dress to the unveiling of her father's (Field Marshal Earl Haig) statue in Montreuil-sur-Mer, France. She was heavily pregnant at the time.



This dress was made for Lady Alexandra in 1950, and given to the museum as part of the Beaton Collection in 1971. In the Beaton Registered Files (part F/5), Lady Alexandra writes (Nov 13 1971) that Fath altered the dress during her pregnancy and then again after the birth of her son. It is possible that this dress was an an original 'model' dress, as Lady Alexandra was exactly the same size as some of Fath's house models, she would sometimes purchase these original versions to wear, and she writes:

"the dresses were not altered in any way except that they could be let out".
Production
Attribution note: Original mannequin dress
Association
Summary
Lady Alexandra Howard-Johnston (later Lady Dacre) was the wife of the Naval Attaché to Paris at the end of the 1940s. She required an extensive wardrobe for the many formal dinners and state functions that she had to attend.



Lady Alexandra dressed exclusively at Jacques Fath (1912-54). She was fortunate enough to share the physique of Fath’s models and was given some dresses originally shown at the collections. One such was this day-dress in shades of grey, which she wore to the unveiling of a statue in honour of her father, Field Marshal Earl Haig, in Montreuil-sur-Mer in 1950. The dress was only altered by Fath in order to fit Lady Alexandra during one of her pregnancies. The scarf, she wrote, was 'very suitable for my condition'.
Associated Object
T.186-1974 (Ensemble)
Bibliographic References
  • Lynn, E., 'Lady Alexandra' in Wilcox, C. ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957 (V&A Publications, 2007), p.172-3 & pl.7.15.
  • Lady Alexandra Trevor-Roper, Memoirs (Unpublished, Private Collection)
  • Cecil Beaton gift Registered Papers F/5, November 13 1971:
  • Cecil Beaton gift Registered Papers F/5, October 10 1971:
Collection
Accession Number
T.182-1974

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJanuary 11, 2006
Record URL