1950s Sorelle Fontana Alta Moda Couture Sequin, Bead & Pearl Dress
The Sorelle Fontana label was started by three sisters in 1943. They prodiuced high end Alta Moda Couture and quickly beacame a favorite of the jet set with stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey hepburn, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly and Jacqueline Kennedt Onanssis among their clientelle. They were an integral part of establishing the high end "Made in Italy" tradition still known to this day and were one of the forefronts of the tradition of the independent Italian couturier.
This dress is is a spectacular example of the couture work being produced by the Sorelle Fontana atelier during this time period. Rarely do such fine examples of their work from this time period, with this level of glamour, come to market anymore. The cut is simple but dramatic. It is cut in a supermodel long sheath that was made to hug every curve but without clinging. Rather it creates a long lean silhouette that suggests the body underneath and gives the illusion of height. The neckline is cut simply at the front and the back with just the a shallow scoop. The base fabric is a stretch knit and this glides over the bust and waist. The hips are cut with a slight curve to follow the curve of the body and the skirt falls to the floor from there. The entire dress is densely covered with hand placed iridescent blue sequins. These are so heavily applied that they overlap each other and cover the entire surface. Worked in among the sequins are a looped design that gives the dress a secondary pattern. Over this are hundreds of hand done beaded tassels that follow those curving bead detailing. Each of these dangle a full four inches off the dress and are finished with two faux pearls. The effect that these create whenever you move is jaw dropping. It is amazing. Excellent condition.
Fully lined in a blue silk and closes with a back metal zipper. There is another good 5" turned up inside the hem if you need more length. All the sequins, pearls and beads are completely hand sewn into place. It weighs several pounds. There are some minor repairs to the inside lining near the inner hem but of course these are not seen when on. The stretch knit base will allow for a range of sizes. You could probably get a bit more then even the greater range below.
Bust: 17-19.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 16-18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 18-21" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 57" from top of shoulder to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-LRG
Reference photo: Cherie, Owner of Shrimpton Couture, by Erin Leydon
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.