Monday, February 4, 2013

Lovely Green Velvet dress

Greetings! This is one of my favorite dresses.  I have had it since my college
days. It is a beautiful, dark olive green;   a fitted bodice with covered buttons up the front (decorative, as the actual closure is a side seam zipper)   It has a yoke neck,  (a double layer of fabric that creates a ruffle), and semi full skirt that goes just a little below the knees. A  very good friend moved into a house and found a box of old dresses in the attic. There were 4 of them, all velvet, but sadly the fabric on the others was very badly damaged.  This was the only one intact, and still it has a few issues. (I was able to use the fabric from the other ones for smaller projects like linings)

I'm not totally sure how to date this dress...  I'd like to say early 50's. It is similar of the style then, I am reminded of a dress worn by the character Myrtle Mae in one of my all time favorite movies "Harvey" with Jimmy Stewart

The label inside says "Helmer, Inc., Syracuse"  and in doing some web research I found very little. I found there was a dress shop in Syracuse around since the 30's til the mid 80's, carrying fine dresses, dry goods like gloves, hats, purses, etc.  The original location on Marshall street seems to have been demolished in 1936.  
One scanned newspaper ("The Syracuse Herald Journal" from Feb. 2, 1945)
carrying a headline 'Nazi's Report attempt to Cross River'  had a large advertisement with a list of stores staying open on a Saturday :   It lists "By Special Permission,  and in full compliance with the emergency fuel proclamation, the following stores will be open Saturday to fill your emergency shopping requirements."       Amusing that a fine ladies' dress store would be considered 'an emergency shopping need'  right along up there with canned goods and powdered milk. God only knows how difficult it is to find elbow length dress gloves to wear when the third Reich is about to invade!

 I did find one other dress on a pinterest board that looks like it could have been made from the same bolt of cloth as mine, right down to the covered buttons.    The description lists this dress as "30's dress."
But I don't think mine is that quite that old.....
One last bit of research turned up a video clip of fashion week dresses that look to come from a current fashion house or designer named Helmer.  Related?  Not sure - never heard of it before today  (and I have watched EVERY episode of Project Runway):

Below here is a full picture of my dress hanging flat.... along with a close-up of the bodice.

And a close-up of the jewelry set I wore  (early 60's Sarah Coventry)

Last but not least, the other 'accessory' in the first picture is my miniature dachshund Calvin. (Paris Hilton, eat your heart out!)  Not quite the purse dog -we tried putting him a shoulder bag, but I don't think accessories are supposed to wiggle around that much.

I apologize for the photos not being the greatest. I am still learning...

What do you think, is the dress likely older than the 50's?  
Do you have any clothes items that are a mystery to date?
Thanks for reading!

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