This one-piece shift dress, made in Dunedin by the D.S.A. department store, is very characteristic of the mid 1920s. It is constructed from two pieces of heavy satin fabric. The bodice is lined with net and tulle. The small, capped sleeves are made from floral patterned metallic net. The collar, armscyes and hem are all finished with satin and tulle. The skirt drops straight down from the bodice without waistline and has a characteristically asymmetrical handkerchief-style hemline. There is also an asymmetrical beaded section of satin attached to the hipline at right and falling to the hem. The dress is lavishly embellished with classical motifs picked out in glass beading. Clusters of grapes made from the metallic net carry on the classical theme while a braided cord of the same fabric circles the waist. A long train, made from tulle and embellished with leaves of metallic mesh, was attached at the neck and surmounted by a fine veil secured to the head with a band of wax flowers.

Esther Botting wore this dress when she married Henry McQueen at Dunedin’s Knox Church on 28 September 1926. Esther was from Naseby in Central Otago but had moved to Dunedin for her secondary education. She became a teacher, working at primary schools in the Wakatipu before her marriage to Henry who taught at the Dunedin Technical College. The couple had three children, moving to Auckland in 1936 and Wellington in 1938. Esther was a keen embroiderer and sewer, making her own evening dresses to accompany Henry to numerous social events associated with his work and their mutual interests in the arts. In old age she remained a staunchly independent woman, living in her own home until her death in 1986 aged 87.
Drapery Supply Association
Production Date
1, 320 (h) x 470 (w) x 310 (d) mm (on mannequin)