Favourite Dress of the Moment - The 1960s 'Madmen Inspired' Manhattan Dress
Sometimes the best ideas come out of the blue and then almost magically come together in a few days! This is true of this dress which is based on another one from my own vintage collection and is my utter favourite at the moment. I tend to wear 1940s most of the time but go through periods of fixation of other eras - not that i have OCD or anything ;-) I will say that at this moment its early 1930s that I'm obsessed with but prior to that it was the early 60s again and this design came from that!
Our challenge these days is to come up with designs that have something extra 'special' about them - to ensure the dress and its wearer - stand out from the crowd and have that 'Foxy Magic'. As we make here in this country, we are in a great position to literally turn around a new design within a week. Im blessed with having an amazing team who are like-minded and are happy to work that way :-)
The 'Manhattan' Dress - named by a customer on a recent Social Media competition, is a late 1950s, early 60s wiggle dress with a nipped in waist and is shaped to enhance the bust and to give the wearer a real wiggle. It feels really great to wear because although its very figure hugging, it isn't revealing as the neckline is not low, nor the hemline high. So, very typical of the early 1960s and later 1950s - it has a 'class' about it and that 'Madmen', Joan Holloway look.
To explain the shape, it has a really flattering scoop neck - not too revealing but not prim either and grown on sleeves which hug the shoulder. Many ladies prefer sleeves these days which is tricky for us designers because arm sizes vary so much. These sleeves are enough to flatter and make you feel more 'dressed'. My favourite element in this dress is the bust tucks - these are typical of the time and were used in place of a dart. They give quite a point finish to the shape and are further enhanced by the under bust seam curving upwards towards the underarm. You start to see this shape in vintage garments from late 50s onwards. I love how styles evolve!
This dress is made in super stretchy bengalene which is also quite figure forming and forgiving of any lumps and bumps. As modern fabrics go, its very comfy but doesn't create the other problems of bobbling or seam slippage.
The cummerbund is a ruched piece of contrast gold brocade which is around the centre of the body. It was the part of the original dress that told me it was early 60s because there are so many styles that have this styling at the the time. It's like wearing a mini corset and really gives extra hourglass emphasis. The drop sash which is on the left side of the body is an elegant addition - not too OTT and is a rather clever way of flattering the tummy!
Ooo - we also added bra anchors - we know you love them.
For guidance on how to dress early 60s - please visit our style guide here