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Not currently on display at the V&A

Dinner Dress

ca. 1909 (designed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

A label sewn into the waist tape of this sophisticated dinner gown tells us it is designed by court dress-maker and tailor John Redfern. Redfern was one of the most prolific and prestigious couturiers of the Edwardian period with outlets in London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Paris and New York.

The higher neckline and longer ruched sleeves, distinguish this from sleeveless low cut ball gowns. The dress fastens at the back along a diagonal with two sets of hooks and eyes, one for the inner bodice and one for the outer structure. It has long self fabric flounces which run the length of the skirt and has a slight train at the back. The intentionally historical appearance of the gown suggests it may have been made for fancy dress. The dress is part of a collection of well over 100 pieces of clothing worn by Miss Heather Firbank and donated to the museum in 1960. The cut glass decorations match those on a pair of black velvet shoes, also worn by Miss Firbank, (T.30&A-1960) and may well have been worn with the dress.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk velvet, chemical lace
Brief Description
Dinner dress of black silk velvet with chemical lace and diamante trimmings, John Redfern, London, ca. 1909
Physical Description
Evening dress of black silk velvet trimmed with white chemical lace in the Van Dyck manner. High neckline and long ruched sleeves. The dress fastens at the back along a diagonal with two sets of hooks and eyes, one for the inner bodice and one for the outer structure. It has long self fabric flounces which run the length of the skirt and has a slight train at the back.
Production typeHaute couture
Marks and Inscriptions
'PARIS Redfern / LONDON / 26 CONDUIT STREET' (On woven label on waist-stay inside the dress)
Object history
Worn by Heather Firbank
Summary
A label sewn into the waist tape of this sophisticated dinner gown tells us it is designed by court dress-maker and tailor John Redfern. Redfern was one of the most prolific and prestigious couturiers of the Edwardian period with outlets in London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Paris and New York.



The higher neckline and longer ruched sleeves, distinguish this from sleeveless low cut ball gowns. The dress fastens at the back along a diagonal with two sets of hooks and eyes, one for the inner bodice and one for the outer structure. It has long self fabric flounces which run the length of the skirt and has a slight train at the back. The intentionally historical appearance of the gown suggests it may have been made for fancy dress. The dress is part of a collection of well over 100 pieces of clothing worn by Miss Heather Firbank and donated to the museum in 1960. The cut glass decorations match those on a pair of black velvet shoes, also worn by Miss Firbank, (T.30&A-1960) and may well have been worn with the dress.

Collection
Accession Number
T.29-1960

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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