This garment came to light during an investigation in that nation’s capitol, Montevideo. It is a very international city and was undoubtedly a hotbed of clandestine affairs during the wartime 1940’s. The cocktail dress pictured above had been commissioned by a woman who was a member of the social elite who routinely had their fashions custom-tailored or traded with shops that offered handmade garments and imported couture. The lack of a label and evident hand-stitching point to a private tailor. Though the crepe is a little rumpled from years of storage, this frock has been well-preserved and is a perfect example of that genre.

I am not sure whether the tailoring differences from what we expect in dresses made in North America are due to historical constraints or to the culture of that country. The extended shoulders, sheer insets, midi-length hem and ubiquitous black rayon fabric are commonly seen in designs of that post-war time but I was a little surprised by the straight, matronly cut. Either the New Look with its nipped waist had not yet landed in high fashion, or this frock was made for a more conservative, older woman.

The same will be seen in a similar dress from that same investigation which will be shown, probably tomorrow. Stay tuned . . . . . .



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