1. 1929 Wedding Dress of Leontine McPhillips
Region: New York, USA
Materials: ivory silk crepe-back satin
This 1929 flapper dress was worn by Leontine Kennedy McPhillips, who graduated from Vassar in 1926, mother of Mary Lee McPhillips Hartzell (Vassar class of 1953) and Ellen McPhillips Baumann (Vassar class of 1963), grandmother of Leontine Hartzell (Vassar class of 1979), and great-grandmother of Anna Kichorowsky Langdell (Vassar class of 2006).
The broad parameters of what we visualize as the classic white wedding gown have not shifted much since the style rose to popularity in the mid-19th century. However, the aesthetic of the gown has shifted drastically with the inflection of each passing decade. In the 1920’s, this meant that wedding gowns received the same gamine makeover as other aspects of contemporary fashion. The overall look at the time shifted from the Victorian ideal of full skirts and wasp-like waists to a more androgynous style. Gowns tended towards loose, drop-waist simplicity, and were often plain silk robes with only small amounts of subdued embellishment. Hemlines for the most part hit the leg at the lower calf, and were cut on the bias to give the skirt fluidity. Wedding veils were often comprised of a tight-fitting cap—a close stylistic relative to the popular cloche hat—decorated with embroidery and pearls, and a vast swath of gauzy tulle or lace.
- Becca Endicott (Vassar class of 2014)