Friday, 19 April 2013

The Deb Dress and the Vionnet Bias Cut

My eldest daughter is to make her 'debut' in August, just after she turns 17.  The hunt for the perfect dress is under way, so today's 'dress of the week' is the Deb Dress. Debut presentations vary country to country, but here in Australia we have "debutante balls," or as we call them "deb balls", usually organised by high schools, church groups or service clubs such as Lions or Rotary.   My daughter is in Year 12 at high school, and the school is organising it.   The girls have to choose a partner to accompany them, and choose their dress, and then attend rehearsals, which include ball-room dancing.

The word debutante comes from the French 'd├ębutante', meaning 'female beginner, and traditionally a deb was a young lady from an aristocratic or upper class family who had reached the age of maturity, or marriageable age, and was introduced into society at a formal "debut" presentation, either to a distinguished committee or in some cases the King or Queen.  In Britain Debs were presented to the Queen until 1958.

Debs arrive for Queen Charlotte's Ball in 1930 
 The debutante girl wears a white dress similar to a wedding dress - in this case it is to be long, with no train, and must have a back and at least straps, if not sleeves. Mothers used to present their daughters  and the hope was to catch a nice young man for their 'gels'.  These days each girl must find a suitable partner, preferably a friend who looks good in a tuxedo or other formal dress suit.  

Attending a Debutante Ball, 1947
I made my own deb dress back in the 80s - a full skirted, long-sleeved number. Being tall and thin my daughter has the ideal figure for a 1930s style evening gown in smooth flowing, bias-cut, silk-satin, and of course I want to encourage her choice in that direction.  So, just for her, some images for inspiration.  First the original, by Madeleine Vionnet - she experimented with the bias cut from 1918 - this one is from 1932.
Madeleine Vionnet: 1932, bias-cut silk satin.

Vogue, 1930.

Jean Harlow& Clark Gable in 'Saratoga' 1937

Weldon's Home Dressmaker- Dance Frocks, 1930s
Backless or not?

Vogue Vintage Model 2241.
1935 Evening Gown pattern at Eva Dress

Lusan Mandongus Gown (2011 Collection)

Modern art deco inspired dress
Lara Hannah Vine Dress, 1930s inspired
I'll keep you updated with what she decides,

Deb xx

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