Beauty and the Bead

C.1960 bead embellished evening slipper
Ice blue cocktail dress with bead embellished collar and sleeves. Marshall Field and Co.

Call me crazy but I’ve decided to mount a 2nd fashion feature presentation for the 2015/2016 season: Beauty and the  Bead will begin touring September 10th.

The Mobile Millinery Museum’s bead-embellished hats, gowns, shoes, jackets and handbags are just too pretty to languish in archival storage, so we are trotting out a variety of 19th and 20th century pieces including a rare 1930s Jeanne Lanvin beaded couture gown and a beaded silk bolero attributed to Balenciaga.

1939 black silk couture gown, Jeanne Lanvin.

20150822_175637My favourite piece, however, is a silk brocade opera gown embellished with three large exquisitely-detailed birds. These adorn the bodice, the left shoulder, and the hem. Woven into the custom fabric are the words L’Oiseau Blue. The dress was made for a performance of an opera by the same name (The Blue Bird).

1960s custom couture mini dress with beaded cuffs and waistband.
Fully beaded rope and tassel motif disco jacket.

Published by Norma Shephard

I'm the founder and director of the Mobile Millinery Museum & author of five books on vintage fashion.

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