Museum Held Spring 1968 Norman Norell Unlabeled Couture Blue Button & Anchor Sailor Dress
Norman Norell was one of the great American designers. His clothes were wildly expensive in their day and he was credited for the unique ability to translate Paris couture into American ready-to-wear. He started in the film industry and then was hired by Hattie Carnegie. In 1941 he left and and joined Anthony Traina where the Traina-Norell label soon appeared. Upon Traina's retirement in 1960 he launched his own self-named label. He won the very first Coty American Fashion Critics' award ever given in 1943 and then won it again in 1951. In 1956 he became the first designer to earn a place in the Coty Hall of Fame. His signature styles for day ran the gamut from shirtwaists, suits, beautifully tailored coats and clothes that seemed simple at first glance but were logistically complex. Norman himself once said 'To qualify as a designer one should not be afraid to repeat a good design, and certainly must have his own signature'. He achieved that and more. I think every serious vintage collector should have a piece of his work in their archives.
This is a rare dress. It is from the Spring 1968 colelction and its twin in white is held in both the MET's collection and in the Goldstein Musuems collection. As cute as those are n the cream colour I love this deep navy colour which is not only more wearable but very chic.
Norman Norell dresses were cut with an exception eye. Every line and seam is placed exactly where it should be to flatter the body. This particular dress is a fabulous example of his work during this time period. The dress is made from a deep blue wool jersey that has a bit of texture to it. The neckline is rounded and finished in a red to contrast against the blue. It is cut to skim over the bust and then disappears inside the waist. The waist is cut on the looser side and the skirt literally buttons into place over the bodice. It is so unusual. All of the buttons are attached and even though they are connected in some places it is the buttons that hold the dress together. This unusual detail alone makes me love this piece. The skirt extends out from there on an angle. It skims over the wait and hips and then from there it falls to the floor and gently widens out as it nears the hem. It closes with two zippers at the back, one on the skirt and the other on the bodice. The waist is detailed with another band of red to pick up on the neckline and then there is an embroidered anchor on the front. It is amazing. The dress is made to demi-couture standards and the finishes within it are superb. Great overall condition with a note below
Fully lined in a blue silk and closes with a zipper on the skirt and bodice as described above. The buttons are all functional. There are a couple of light grazes here and there that are minor and some very minor light pilling here and there. Some grubbiness to the anchor thread. Please see the photos before the museum reference photos. Hand finishes throughout.
Bust: to 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 15" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 17.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 36.5" from neck to hem with 3.5" turned under the hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
Reference Photos: (1) Spring 1968 Norman Norell Ensemble in The MET Museum Collection. / (2-3) c.1960s Norman Norell dress in the Goldstein Museum of Design Collection.
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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