ceil chapman

1950s Ceil Chapman Basket Weave Velvet Floral Ribbon Silk Organza Dress

Ceil Chapman was an American designer of classic cocktail and party dresses who successfully took the revered Christian Dior "New Look" haute couture designs that most woman could not even hope to afford and reworked them into designs that American woman could attain. She won the Coty American Fashion Critic's Award in 1945, the John Wanamaker Award, Foley's "Golden Year" Award, and the Strawbridge and Clothier seal of confidence, for creative contribution in the area of American fashion. In 1955, she won the Mademoiselle Merit Award, after a poll asking college girls to cite the country's most popular designer for the young. She won by a landslide.Her self-named label was launched in the mid-1940s and continued to the to the mid-sixties.

This dress is one of the prettiest pieces I have ever had in the shop. It is not perfect but its imperfections can be worked with and I think that some girl out there is going to feel very, very lucky to have snagged this dress at this price. It is cut into that classic party, cocktail dress of the era, with a fitted bodice, nipped in waist and a very full skirt. The fabric is a very fine silk organza that is the palest possible blush nude pink. The interior layers are finished in the same color and the layers of silk, netting, tulle and more organza, give it both structure through the bodice and fullness through the skirts. There are no extra crinolines used in this photo. The volume that you see is all the interior skirts that are built in. The dress is covered in a pale mint green velvet ribbon trim mixed with a second ribbon that has the sweetest little flowers made out of the ribbon fabric. Over the bodice the ribbons are set onto the silk in a basket weave pattern that emphasizes the fit. They are also set to bring extra attention to the bust. On the skirt these ribbons are set in rows that circle all the way around the skirt. I love how she has used this detailing to highlight the cut of the dress but it also gives the already feminine dress an even more romantic feel. It is an extraordinary dress in every way. These early Chapman pieces are very hard to come by and you can see the masterful dressmaking techniques she employed in this piece. This would also make a wonderful wedding dress for the bride who does not want to wear a traditional white dress. It presents as excellent condition but does have some areas that will need further reinforcement. Please review the full condition notes below.

Fully lined in a combination of palest pink silk, netting, tulle and more organza. The interior bodice is lightly boned and shaped and the interior layers of the skirt are built in. It closes with a side painted metal zipper. The organza between the two types of ribbon at the top of each shoulder is shattering. It is at the very top of the shoulder and then extends part way down but does not go into the bodice. I see one tiny area of shattering on the silk near the back of one arm hole that appears very stable. All the rest of the silk appears stable at this time. The straps could be backed with a similar colored, or nude colored silk and stabilized. There is an area of the inner layer of the skirt at the back hem that has a part of the edge missing. The way the skirt seems to falls once it is on the body, the hem area where this flaw is seems to land inside a soft inward fold and it is the layer under the exterior layer, so you really only notice it when it is off the body and laying flat. Some minor grubbiness to the fabric here and there. Photos of these areas can be seen after the photo of the label. It is sent in as found, clean condition and is sold as a final sale.

Bust: 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 14" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Bodice: 15.5" from top of shoulder to waist
Skirt: 33.5" from waist to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD3216

This item is in sound, as found condition

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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.