I'm in the process of some fashion history research because I am looking after a family heirloom.
This beaded dress belonged to my great-aunt Dorothy who was both formidable and elegant. That's certainly my memory of her as an old lady and the pictures of her, my grandmother and their other sisters show some very well dressed young women during WW1 and the 1920s.
Dorothy was an artist and jeweller who married a well off older man - as result she was a widow living in a large house with a maid and an unmarried sister or two for a lot of her life. She seemed like a character from a book to me.
The dress is a prefect match to that - exquisitely beaded and stitched, drawing on the mid-20s Egyptian obsession for the diagonal panel, it is the bold choice of someone who loves colour and isn't afraid of making an entrance.
The pictures aren't great because I didn't want to handle the dress too much and risk damaging it. For the same reason I've only had a tentative look for a dressmaker/fashion house label and not been able to see anlything obvious.
So now I'm trying to find a 1920s dress expert. There's nothing a intricate on display at the V&A and very few similar items pictured online. So I need a specialist to find out more and to tell us whether it would be worth finding a home for it in a fashion display.
If anyone knows and expert please poit them this way.