Incredible 1950s Harvey Berin Couture Densely Beaded Ivory Silk Dress
Harvey Berin opened his self-named label in 1921 and by the 1940s his label was considered to be a leader in American fashion. The pieces were actually designed by Karen Stark, his wife's sister, though it is said that all designs had to meet with Berin's approval before going into production. The dresses were made with high end finishes and were often based on the Parisian couture designs of the season. By 1952 Stark had won a Coty award. This dress is one of the best I have seen from the label and is extraordinary.
The dress is absolutely wonderful and could easily stand side by side with any of the couture dresses being produced in this time frame. The base fabric is a pale ivory with just the barest touch of blush to it. It then has a beautiful floral and leaf pattern worked into the silk that is made from a nude toned netting. The weave of the netting varies and these variations become a layer of the design itself. Over these fabrics the dress has been densely beaded with thousands and thousands of little white glass seed beads. These are applied by hand in a dense scattering cover over the main silk part. More beads are worked into dense ropes that follow the edges of each leave and flower. More beads are used to make up the inner design of the flowers and leaves. The heavy profusion of beads makes the dress feel that is has a good solid couture feeling weight to it. The cut is kept simple to off-set that amazing design. The straps are cut wide and curve over each shoulder. The bust is fitted with a sweetheart neckline at the front and a simple scoop at the back. The waist nips in and the skirt flares out to be very full under that. I put a light crinoline under it for the photos and I think you could go even fuller if you wished. In person the dress has far more impact and beauty then the photos could ever convey. You will honestly be floored when you see it in person. The color is a more true ivory-nude and the dress has more depth and a 3D effect in real life. It is wonderful and would perhaps even make a fabulous wedding dress for the bride looking for something non-traditional. Excellent condition with a couple of tiny items to note below.
Fully lined in a pale pink silk and closes with a side set painted metal zipper. There is a teeny tiny area of the slightest of darkening to the fabric under one arm and a couple of tiny storage spots. Nothing that I feel detracts in any way. I have photoed the areas and you can see then after the shot of the label. Hand finished throughout. There is a 4.5" hem turned up and it appears that someone has turned it up at some point already and this prior shortening takes up about 2.5" of the total
Bust: 18.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 12.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 15" from top of bodice to waist
Skirt: 29" from waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML
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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