norman norell

Outstanding 1960s Norman Norell Black Wool Crepe Dress w Full Tiered Skirting

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 dress is absolutely wonderful and I think that when you see this in person you will be very happy with it. Black definitely does not convey as well when photoed and there are really so many exquisite details and the workmanship is so very fine in this dress that in person it really feels like a proper couture piece. It is perfectly made and exactly what is meant when we refer to the perfect 'little black dress'. Norman Norell was the master of the little chic day or cocktail dress and even though his pieces sometimes appear simple they are really a master study in cut and line. This dress is made of a black textured wool crepe that has just enough weight for it to hold the intended shape he has created. The bodice is sleeveless and cut to skim over the bust and waist. It drops into a low seam at the top of the hip. Under that the skirt flares out as it reaches the hem. The skirt is made from two attached tiers with each tier being fuller then the one above. This is what gives it that incredible shape and volume. At the back it closes with a row of hand covered buttons in the same fabric so you have the detailing of the buttons there but nothing that breaks the eye. It is so well made that I think you could wear it with the buttons to the front as well. The inside is beautifully finished to a couture like standard with elaborate horsehair binding at the seams of the two tiers and inner silk skirting to keep the shape and fullness. It is wonderful and a beautiful example of his work. Excellent condition.

Fully lined in a fine black silk and the skirt has additional layers. Hand finishes throughout. There is built in interior stiffened horse hair netting at the seam between the tiers. The dress closes with a series of hand covered fabric buttons at the back and all of the buttonholes are properly finished. It appears to have been worn very little if at all. 

Bust: to 20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: to 16" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 21" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 40" from neck to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: MED-LRG

Item# DD3820

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.