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Norman Norell

1960s Norman Norell Vintage Dress Black Taffeta w/ White Polka Dots

Regular price $1,200.00 Sale price $900.00 Save $300.00
1 in stock

This gorgeous 1960's vintage dress was designed by Norman Norell. The original owner was from a fashion dynasty and knew Mr. Norell personally! This fabulous black taffeta dress has medium white polka dots on the bodice and sleeves, large polka dots on the full skirt, and small polka dots on the original belt! 

This long vintage dress has full, cuffed sleeves and a banded high neck collar. There is a back zipper for closure and the dress is lined with a fine black organza fabric for fullness. It is a long dress with a 9" hem that can easily be let out for a customized longer length.

We estimate this dress to fit a modern day size 6/8 but please use the measurements as a guide for the best fit. This dress includes the original customer's name on a numbered label, the signature "front" label that Norman Norell used and his name is stamped on the belt. It is in excellent condition, with slight darkening on a few polka dots from age.

BUST: 36"

WAIST: 28"

HIPS: Free



LENGTH from top of shoulder to waist: 15"

LENGTH from waist: 36"

Provenance is very important to us, so we hope you will enjoy reading a little more about the woman who owned the beautiful dress and other Norman Norell dresses we are so honored to have in our collection. Her granddaughters provided this small glimpse into their family's rich fashion history:

The Meier, Schwartz and Sadowsky Families were prominent members of the fashion industry for 150 years. Reuben Sadowsky was a prominent real estate and garment tycoon in the 19th century, having erected the Sadowsky Building at 1372 Broadway in Manhattan, the first manufacturing site in “Garment Town”. Many of the Norell pieces that we are listing, including this dress, were originally designed for Reuben’s only daughter, Betty Sadowsky Schwartz. Betty Sadowsky married Harry Schwartz, who owned National Department Stores.

Harry Schwartz was a very close college friend of Oscar Hammerstein ( of Rogers & Hammerstein), and Harry was actually in Hammerstein’s wedding. Betty and Harry Schwartz would often attend openings of the Rogers & Hammerstein plays, among them “Away We Go” which later was re-titled and is now known as “Oklahoma”. Betty's granddaughters told us that several of the evening gowns we are selling were worn at events hosted by Rogers & Hammerstein.

Since Betty’s husband owned National Department Stores, the Schwartz family would regularly visit their stores around the country. Among the stores in the National Department Store chain was Lipman Wolfe & Company, which was located in the building across from Meier & Frank’s flagship store in Portland, Oregon.

On one of the Schwartz’s visits to Portland, they brought their daughter, and while there, she met a descendant of the Meier & Frank Company. Meier & Frank was a prominent chain of department stores founded in Portland and later bought by the May Department Stores Company (Macy’s). Meier & Frank operated in the Pacific Northwest from 1857 to 2006. The two eventually were married, thus joining two remarkable fashion families! Betty eventually moved to Portland to be near her daughter.

She and her daughter, often accompanied by a granddaughter or two, would travel to New York together to personally view Norman Norell's latest collections and to have pieces custom designed and custom fitted. It seems that Betty Schwartz's adoration of Norell's designs was passed on to her daughter!

We offer a large selection of designers and manufacturers that span the 20th and early 21st century. Sizing varies greatly, so we have outlined our measuring and size estimating process.

The best way to know if a vintage item will fit you is to take a garment that fits you well, similar to the one you are interested in purchasing, and measure it the way we measure ours. 


We lay all garments flat and measure as follows*:


BUST - under arm to under arm across the front and then double that measurement.  

Measure the WAISTBAND, widest part of the HIPS, widest part of the THIGH on one leg and width of the CUFF, then double those measurements

WAIST - find the smallest part of the garment if there isn't an obvious seam for the waist and measure across and then double that measurement.

LENGTH - Measure from the top of the waistband to the bottom of the cuff along the side seam.
HIPS - Find the largest part of the hip area and measure flat, then double that measurement. RISE - Measure from the crotch to the top of the waistband.
LENGTH - from the nape of the neck or the top of the shoulders, depending on the style of garment. We will measure to the waist when applicable, so that you can determine if it will fit your torso,  and then a waist down measurement. INSEAM - Measure from the crotch to the bottom of the cuff along the inside seam.

SLEEVES - measure from the top of the shoulder seam to the end of the sleeve.  When we think that the arm opening is particularly small, we will provide that measurement as well.**

*Fabrics with stretch will have some give, we will try to mention the range of measurements that will fit comfortably.

**With dolman sleeves, the size is an estimation based on the waist as the body seamlessly joins the sleeve.

Women's Clothing International Size Conversion Chart

Feel free to email us with specific questions about specific measurements that we may not have included that you need to know in order to feel confident about your purchase.  If you have a particularly long torso, short legs, long arms, etc.. we can help you determine whether or not a garment will work for your body.SaveSaveSave

At Modig, we pride ourselves in selling vintage items that are in excellent condition and ready to use. Everything in our inventory has been professionally cleaned and stored in a climate controlled, pest-free environment.

All of our items are pre-owned, and as such we do our best to mention any flaw in detail, including photographs when appropriate. Slight imperfections are part of the history of vintage garments, but it is our goal to make sure that you know exactly what you are getting when you shop with us.

Here is a guide to condition for our site:

MINT - In "as new" condition.  May include original tags or may appear unworn.

EXCELLENT - Very minor to no visible flaws found. May have been washed and worn, but was well taken care of and stored properly.

NOTE: Most of our items are included in the above categories unless stated otherwise. We only list items in the categories below if they are extremely rare, unique, or have an important label.

GOOD - Definitely wearable but might have a small hole, a spot we were unable to remove, or a tear that is not in the seam but in an inconspicuous spot. It might just be that the item doesn't appear as "crisp" as it would have been originally but is still a wonderful piece.

FAIR - When we sell garments in this category, it is mainly because they are from an important designer or rare pieces from the late 1800s or early part of the 20th century. They are generally fragile textiles, and are meant to be used for study or display purposes.

We have been selling vintage clothing for over two decades, and have many wonderful customers that have bought with us since the beginning. To build and maintain that kind of trust and relationship, we pride ourselves on cleanliness, proper storage techniques, and sharp eyes for flaws.


Is this in my size?

Frankly, we don't know. With a 26" waist, you might wear a Target dress size 4, but a designer Valentino dress size 10. The modern "vanity sizing" you see in most stores does not correlate to high end designer sizing, especially when you start to look back in time!

Luckily, if you have a measuring tape, we've made it easy for you to find out in the most precise way possible if you will fit into the garments in our store! Just visit our Measuring & Fit Guide.


Do you offer Layaway?

Yes! We offer a non-refundable layaway program that requires a 20% down payment with the remainder of the balance divided anywhere between 2 and 6 months. Please contact us if you are interested in putting something on layaway.


Do you have a physical shop I can visit?

Yes! In 2017 we opened our appointment-only studio space in Portland, OR. Contact us for information about setting up an appointment.

Join our mailing list for updates on our participation in vintage shows around the country, future pop-up shops, and events in our studio!


I'm getting married, can you help me find a vintage wedding dress and dresses for my entire wedding party?

Yes! We absolutely love weddings! Just tell us what you are dreaming of and we can try to make it become a reality. Take a look at our Wedding Dress collection for some of our available vintage wedding gowns, but if you don't see it there, feel free to contact us with your specific dress vision (we have tons of unlisted inventory -- including wedding dresses!).

We can help everyone from the bride to the mother of the bride look amazing on that special day. We also do wedding styling and try whenever at all possible to use sustainable, ethical decor.


I need a certain color of dress and I think I've found it on your site but the color looks different on the different monitors I've seen it on - is there a way to know exactly what color it is?

We have the full book of Pantone colors, so we can find the exact match on any particular garment. Or, if you can find the Pantone equivalent to the specific color you need, we can help you find a garment in the exact shade.

I am looking for a vintage dress for a black tie event - do you have other dresses in your inventory that are not online that I might be able to see?

We have a huge inventory and can't put it all online at once, so it is always good to email us if you are looking for something special. Please include images from the web of dresses you like, your size, color preferences and the date of the event. We buy estates of clothing regularly so even if we don't have it in our current stock, it might be our next great find!


What's the difference between "good" and "excellent" condition?

See our Condition Notes page.


Why do vintage clothing prices differ so much online?

Shopping online can be very confusing! You need to look at the unique aspects of the piece, the designer, the quality and most importantly, the condition (view our Condition Notes page). Vintage clothing has everything to do with condition and quality.

Most of us who have been doing this for many years, have become more and more discriminate about condition and the pieces we add to our inventory so the prices might seem much higher, but they reflect a more selective collection of finer, rarer, or more collectible garments.


Don't see your question?

Feel free to CONTACT US at any time with specific questions and inquiries.