Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A 1954 prom dress

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Loretta reports:

Continuing my report on the Strawbery Banke Museum exhibition, Thread: Stories of Fashion at Strawbery Banke, 1740-2012:*

Another delight was this pink prom dress from 1954.  The dress is described as a “pink synthetic lace creation with its strapless flounced dress and bolero-style jacket.”

According to the museum guides, the living room was furnished from Sears Roebuck.  In other words, the room and dress represent a style not of lords and ladies or celebrities, but everyday people.  The display included a wedding portrait of Pat Brackett, the woman who wore this dress to her high school prom.  Unfortunately, my camera was feeling ill that day, and my close-up photo of that part of the room was not in focus—a fact I failed to notice until I saw it full size on my computer.  (But there’s still time to see the exhibit for yourself if you’re in the area.)

This style of décor might be familiar to some of our readers.  Can you tell what that thing is between the two photographs behind the dress?  Do you know what piece of furniture the photographs are sitting on?

*Previous posts are here and here.



15 comments:

Sandi said...

It's kind of small but it looks something like an ashtray? And it looks like everything's sitting on an old speaker. But I wasn't born until 1988 so... mostly guessing.

WLCI FASHION SCHOOL said...

v

Anonymous said...

Oh yes that's a standing ash tray. My grandfather had one by his lounge chair along with the magazine stand end table hybrid. Rolled up newspaper and the mail would sit in the v "trench" style bottom.

MrsC said...

It all seems so twee now! If you mean the little red thing, it looks like one of those travelling alarm clocks that fold up into a compact.
My grandparents had a freestanding ashtray with this groovy swivelling lid that we played with all the time (they never used it) You pressed down on it and the lid folded away like the batmobile's shields, very exciting! It matched a circular tea trolley and a magazine rack. ALL chrome and black. Hideous really! But I do love the wooden work and bakelite handles from the mid century.

Fizz said...

That looks like a console radio & record player to me. While I was born in 1972, our summer cottage was outfitted in a similar fashion & our console record player was functional until the day we sold the cottage.

Lovely... reminds me of summer's at the lake. Good times, before all that adult responsibility set in!
Fizz

Anonymous said...

Bolero dresses were all the rage that year. I didn't go to a prom in 1954, but was in a wedding where all the bridesmaids's gowns had boleros. The skirts were unadorned though. It mightt have been the year that peplums were popular as well.
Can't see the red thing well enough to judge what it is. The furniture item does look like it might be a radio phonograph console piece. Or even a console radio. In 1954 most people didn't have TV's . I think the bog explosion in TVs and TV programming came in the next decade. By 1966 a TV was considered an essential part of home furnishings. I think I had a TV though not a washing machine.

Anonymous said...

an old radio, an old phone with no dial (you ask the operator to get your number), is that an old camera I see? A doily. Is that an old heater there? Gosh, that dress is atrocious. Looks like someone used old lace curtains, ala Scarlett O'hara.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a ViewMaster sitting on the doily next to the phone.

Time Traveling in Costume said...

I see a small balsa wood plane/glider, and the ViewMaster which I used to have w/ all kinds of Disney photos.
Val

IDreamedISaw said...

It's an ashtray with a red lobster straddling it.

LorettaChase said...

I can tell that some of our readers are having fun with this! IDreamedISaw is correct. Anonymous recognized the hi-fit set. The View Master & balsa wood plane are there. And the old phone. And yes, sharp eyes discerned the camera. I'm not sure about that item to the right of the dress, though. But since it's in front of what used to be a fireplace, we're guessing it's a heater.

Margaret Evans Porter said...

I've got several vintage dresses from that time (cocktail, not prom) and wear them whenever I can. I'm a bit fan of the small waist and full skirt of the late 40s to mid-50s.

It would've been great to see you when you were so near...if you return to SB or P'mouth, send your footman my way to announce your presence!

LorettaChase said...

Next time we head up that way, I'll be sure to let you know, Margaret!

Lynn said...

You are really whetting my appetite - we are headed to SB on the 29th!
That ashtray does bring back memories - my parents didn't smoke, but we did have a standing ashtray, though less fancy. And I think my grandparents had one similar to this because like Mrs C said I remember playing with it as a kid.

ladyhawthorne said...

That's definitely a heater in the fireplace area. And I've got Mom's old brownie camera that looks just like that one.

 
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