Dress #056: 1940s cocktail dress in black and gold
Dress #056: 1940s cocktail dress in black and gold
Dress #056: 1940s cocktail dress in black and gold
Dress #056: 1940s cocktail dress in black and gold
Dress #056: 1940s cocktail dress in black and gold
Judith Pudden

Dress #056: 1940s cocktail dress in black and gold

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This hand-stitched black and gold paper dress is based on a cocktail dress designed by British-born American designer Charles James in 1949. It is made from black chiyogami (Japanese) paper that is accented with a pattern of gold twigs. Hand-embroidered lines imitate the seams and folds of the dress. It is stitched onto cold-pressed 100% cotton paper. The original dress is held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (accession 2009.300.200).

Charles James produced some of the quintessential dress shapes of the 1940s and 1950s, and is considered by the Met to be the ‘only American to work in the true couture tradition’. I’m sure Joan Holloway would have coveted his creations during the early seasons of Mad Men. 

The dress is six inches tall, stitched by hand on 8x10 inch paper, which means that it will pop right into any commercial frame in that size, and be ready to hang on your wall.

Materials: Japanese paper and rayon floss on cotton paper