This pink day dress in light cotton is another example of a 1920s shift dress. The pink is contrasted with gold flocking in a repeating floral pattern, which catches and reflects the light. It is sleeveless and has a dropped waist, two features characteristic of the ‘androgynous’ look of the period that seemed to deny the curves natural to a woman’s body. The skirt is in fact a separate piece of fabric attached at the waistline with gathers. On both sides there a sash in the same fabric. The hemline is just below knee level, which dates the dress toward the middle of the decade.

Of simple construction, shift dresses were popular with home sewers, who could run them up relatively easily with the newly available portable electric sewing machines. This one, however, is almost completely hand-stitched, with just the two side seams showing evidence of machine stitching. It belonged to Katy Lang (later Stapleton), who grew up in the Princess Theatre in High Street, where her parents were the live-in caretakers. Katy sewed costumes for the theatre as well as for herself. After her marriage in 1928 she ran a theatrical group from her home in Macandrew Bay. There, she developed a large collection of costumes that she was happy to lend. She donated a selection to the Museum shortly before her death in 1986 aged 83.
Production Date
Mid 1920s
980x320x230mm (on mannequin)