ceil chapman

Incredible 1950s Ceil Chapman Jewelled Rhinestone Tear Drop Black Velvet Shelf Bust 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.

I think this might be the most incredible Ceil Chapman that I have not only had but that I have ever seen. It is cut into a classic cocktail dress silhouette, with a fitted bodice, nipped in waist and a very full skirt. The bust has a wide strap that wraps around the neck and then curves under the bodice to give support. This shelf bust is very flattering and really highlight the bust and adds a lovely shape. I have styled the dress over a light crinoline so that you can see just how full the skirt is. It could go even fuller and if you really wanted to exaggerate the fullness you could easily use a a very very full crinoline underneath. The fabric is an inky black cotton velvet that helps to give the dress the structure it needs to hold its sculpted shape. The dress is covered in jewelled drops that are made up of beads and glass crystal rhinestones in different sizes. Each one has a huge teardrop pear shaped stone as its main feature and then more rhinestones and beads have been hand stitched into place above that so that they look like they are suspended from the tops and hanging on the dress. I love how the bits above the tear drop are done shorter near the bodice and then extend into longer strands as they reach the hem. It is just incredible. The entire dress catches the light and the jewels sparkle and shimmer with your slightest movement. It is like being dressed in a jewel box. It even has pockets hidden along each hip. These early Chapman pieces are very hard to come by and this one is in wonderful condition too. I also love the level of craftsmanship put into the dress. The bodice is all shaped by a series of vertical panels and the skirt is lined in a dressmakers paper so that it holds its shape. Truly an incredible find. Excellent condition

Fully lined in a combination of black silky rayon through the bodice and stiffening through the skirt. The interior bodice is lightly boned and shaped. It closes with a side painted metal zipper. 

Bust: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 12.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Length: approx 49" from top of neck to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML

Item# DD3628

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.