Zephir evening dress

"My mother Pamela Blundell was the great granddaughter of Henry Blundell who started the Evening Post in Wellington. I believe the dress was purchased at Kirkcaldie & Stains. She wore it to cocktail parties and I have worn it to balls." The pleating and construction details are identical to the Kathleen Rae steel blue version held in the Auckland Museum collection. The original large decorative self fabric bow threaded through the front of the bodice has been probably been removed from this dress at some stage in order to update it and extend its fashionable life. Read more about Gus Fisher and the El Jay label in the New Zealand Fashion Museum publication Looking Terrific: The story of El Jay.

Details

Credit: Garment loan courtesy of Mary McIldowie
Designer: Christian Dior
Maker: El Jay
Manufacturing location: Auckland
Garment type: Evening dress
Material: Slub silk, silk organza, taffeta and netting
Features: The strapless bodice has a separate boned net corset which is attached to the lining and net underskirt. The slub silk fabric is entirely backed with organza. The skirt is very full with deep double pleats into the waistline. The fullness at the hem is pushed out by a stiffened edge on the heavy tulle of the built-in underskirt
Colour: Black
Label: Christian Dior by El Jay
Date: Circa 1958