norman norell

Spectacular Early 1960s Norman Norell Pink Gingham Silk Taffeta Dress w Bow & Pouf Sleeves

Norman Norell was one of the great American designers. His clothes were wildly expensive 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 and by 1956 was 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 featured polka dots, checks, gingham and of course, the huge oversize bow. Norma 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 did that and more and I think every serious vintage collector should have a piece of his work in their archives. 

I absolutely love this dress. The lines and cut are somewhat similar to a dress I have had in the shop previously that was dated to 1963. This one, with its bright and cheerful pink gingham print, is just spectacular to see. The silk is a very high end and I love the colour. It is cut with a masters hand and the workmanship that is put into it is beautiful to see. The bodice is cut to be more fitted and follow the lines of your body. It cinches in at the waist and to add even more shape there is a wide matching belt that acts like a corset to really bring the waist in and make the skirt under it seem even fuller. I took the first set of the photos here with a crinoline under it and then the last three full length shots are of the dress without the added underskirts. You can see how this really changes the lines and the volume of fabric in the skirt. Even without the underskirt the skirt is full and this volume has been achieved by the way it is set into the bodice. Inside at the waist there is a full ruffle of silk that sits above the interior seam. I took a photo of the inside so you can see how it is gathered up and through the waist. It is just incredible. To wear the dress you slip it on and button it down the front. It has the most incredible buttons. Hand carved, thick mother-of-pearl buttons run down the front. The same buttons in a smaller size have been used on the cuffs of each amazing sleeve. Each of the sleeves are cut on a curve to follow the natural shape of the arm. This is a couture technique that you rarely see anymore and it is just executed to perfection here. They pouf up at the shoulders and are set into the bodice with a series of high gathers. The sleeves are full at the tops and then narrow down to the wide cuffs at each wrist. Each cuff is a full 4" long and closes with four of the mother-of-pearl buttons. The interior of each sleeve is finished in a silk organza so that the sleeves keep that volume that you see. The finishing touch is one of his wide over-sized bows that you tie at the neck with the long attached ties that extend out from the collar. One side is even cut a little longer then the other so that it ties to a perfect length every time. The workmanship on this dress is incredible. This is an amazing example of the work that he was doing during this time period and one of the prettiest Norells' I have seen. Excellent condition with one small note below

Fully lined in a hand set white silk through the bodice and ivory silk organza through the sleeves. The skirt is unlined. Closes down the front with a series of hand carved mother-of-pearl buttons. Each sleeve has four more of the buttons in a smaller size. The only thing I see is that part of the silk on the belt has darkened a touch and there is a bit of grubbiness under the arms on the inside lining. The back of the belt is stamped Norman Norell. Hand finished throughout. The crinoline used on some photos is not included

Sleeves: 26"
Slightly inset shoulders: 13"
Bust: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 11.5-12" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Bodice: 14.5" from top of bodice to bottom of the waist banding
Skirt: 35" from waist to hem with a 5" hem turned under

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XXS-XS

Item# DD3318

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.