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.
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!