Rare Late 1920s Early 1930s Howard Greer Silver Beaded Halter Dress w Silk Tulle Net Tiered Skirt

Howard Greer started his career working for the famed Lucile. He then served int he war and upon his return in 1921 got a job in Hollywood. By 1925 he was the head of the wardrobe department of the studio that we now know of as Paramount. In 1927 he opened a couture salon patterned after Lucile and his time there. He was the first costume designer to open his own couture house. His pieces took weeks to complete and required numerous fittings. They were also exorbitantly priced. In 1946 he began a ready-to-wear line that incorporated hand finishes making them alongside the couture pieces. He shuttered the label in 1962. This is an earlier example of his couture work and it is exceptionally beautiful. 

It is rare to see a dress from this period as pretty and romantic as this one. It has that Old Hollywood glamour feel and it is easy to imagine that it could have been made for a Hollywood starlet. The bodice has shaped cups and wide straps that curve up and around the neck from the outside edges of the bust line. The top is curved in a sweetheart shape and then it skims over the body, past the waist and ends just at the top of the hips. The upper back is left bare. I also photoed it laying flat so that you can see the cut when it closes completely since it would not close on my dress form. The bodice has been entirely covered with hand done bead work. Silver glass tube beads cover every inch and have been densely spaced into curving rows. They catch the light wonderfully when you move. The skirt is divine. It is made up of three full tiers of silk tulle that has been stacked on top of each other with definitive edges. At first glance you would think that the effect the tiers have were achieved by using multiple layers of tulle over each other for each tier, but they are actually one single layer of tulle each. The netting that he used is so soft and so fine that he just has gathered it so that it has the volume that you see on each tier. This is a testament to the quality of the fabric found in this time period because I can honestly say that I have not encountered a finer, softer silk tulle. The edges of each tier have been left raw and this gives the dress a slightly deconstructed feel that adds to its beauty. It has this decadent feel to it that only a piece that is of this age and this well made has. This could also be a spectacular wedding piece for the bride looking to wear vintage. It is absolutely stunning in person. Excellent antique condition with some small notes below.

The skirt is fully lined with a cream silk and the bodice is unlined. Light interior boning on the bodice. You can see all the hand work on the back of the bodice. It may have been lined at some point. It closes with a back painted metal zipper and the halter slips over the head. It was folded and sewn to shorten the strap lengths at some point in its history. I see one tiny area of missing beads on the bodice and some loose beads here and there. Please see the photo after the label shot. The bead work is entirely done by hand. Hand work throughout. It's wearable as is but if you want to wear it for an event where you have it on for hours you might want to get to lined for extra re-inforcement. Note that is was photoed on a size 2-4 dress form and it would not close. Best suited for a 0-2

Bust: 15.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 12" flat across from side seam to side seam
Seam at the hips: 16" flat across from side seam to side seam at the bottom of the bead work bodice
Bodice: 23" from top of neck to seam at the bottom
Skirt: 39" from the seam at the bottom of the bodice to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XXS-XS

Item# E590

Note that antique and twenties pieces are final sale. They will be packed exceedingly well and we only sell pieces that will stand up to the stress of shipping, however, having pieces potentially shipped multiple times through multiple customs and countries is too hard on garments that are historically important and deserve to be treated with love and care. Please purchase accordingly.

This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.

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Please review all measurements carefully. More often than not, vintage garments do not fit any size category exactly. If in doubt, measure a garment of your own that fits and is a similar cut and compare it's measurements to the listed measurements below.