This is a quintessential ‘flapper’ costume, associated with risqué young women in the mid1920s. Flapper fashion embraced all things and styles modern. This sleeveless ‘shift’ dress exemplifies this ‘modernity’ with its dropped waist and drastically raised hemline. It is made from very fine smoky blue chiffon with a matching over jacket. Both dress and jacket are heavily ornamented with panels of a floral patterned fabric of art nouveau design in metallic thread. Their heaviness and the soft-toned, muted colours – old rose, plum, green, bronze, orange and gold – complement the flimsiness of the blue chiffon and are off-set by gold cornelli stitch embroidery.

This dress also belonged to Katy Lang of the Princess Theatre. It may have been a theatrical costume but is just as likely one of Katy’s own dresses. About the time it would have been at the height of fashion, Katy met a dashing young English Royal Marine, Patrick Stapleton, while his naval ship was visiting Dunedin. Romance must have posed some challenges once Patrick’s ship departed port but in November 1928 the pair were married in Auckland. They were to have a long and happy marriage. After leaving the navy, Patrick worked as a saw doctor at the Hillside Railway Workshops while Katy raised their three children at their home in Macandrew Bay.
Production Date
Mid 1920s
970x400x240mm (on mannequin)