Stunning two piece evening ensemble custom made by Norman Norell. Worn together, the green knit skirt and green sequined long sleeve top create the look of an evening gown, nicely pulled together with the matching sequin belt.
The top is unlabeled but has all of Norell's signature handwork including zippers on the cuffs, his particular bra snaps, and the "front" label he used in his pieces. The sequins resemble those of his iconic mermaid gowns! The skirt is lined in Norell's finely tailored, signature way and has a Talon zipper with a hook and eye at the top and also the same "front" label used by Norell in his clothing.
There is a customer custom label with the initials of the owner still pinned to the underside of the dress. It does not bare the Norell label, but this is common in many of his custom pieces. View our collection of Norman Norell clothing, and read about the rich provenance of this stunning ensemble below.
This ensemble is in excellent vintage condition. It measures to be about a modern US size 6/8. The length is customization, with a sizable 3 and 3/4" hem that could easily be let out to make the skirt longer. This top is very similar to the silver one from the same estate, which is accompanied by a black jersey skirt.
This gorgeous outfit came from the estate of a woman from a prominent Northwest fashion family and she and her mother both owned several Norman Norell pieces. Her daughter remembers traveling with her mother and grandmother to New York to see Norell's latest collections and for their dress fittings by Norell himself. She remembers attending the fitting at the studio of someone named Lydia Kessler (?) at 72nd and Madison. Provenance is important to us and we hope you will enjoy reading a little more about the two women who owned the beautiful clothing we are so honored to be selling. Their daughter/granddaughter provided this small glimpse into her family's fashion history!
The Meier Family, Schwartz Family and Sadowsky Family 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, NYC, the first manufacturing site in “Garment Town”.
Many of the Norell pieces that we now have in our collection were originally designed for Reuben’s only daughter, Betty Sadowsky Schwartz of New York City). Betty Sadowsky married Harry Schwartz, who owned National Department Stores. Harry Schwartz (Betty’s husband) was a close college friend of Oscar Hammerstein (Rogers & Hammerstein plays), and Harry was actually in Hammerstein’s wedding. So, 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 granddaughter told us that several of the evening gowns were worn at events hosted by Rogers & Hammerstein.
Betty’s husband owned National Department Stores, and 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. On one of the Schwartz’s visits to Portland, they brought their daughter, who met, fell in love with, and eventually married 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.
This dress was custom made by Norell for Betty's daughter.