A Passion for Fashion - Madame Clapham Revisited

Rose Evening Dress (c.1920-29)

This ‘Charleston’ style sleeveless black dress has sequins on the netting. The embroidery is hand-stitched and displays large pink roses, lined with a fringe from the hip-line to the hem. 

1920s Fashions

The simple, straight shape of this dress with no waist was all the rage in the 1920s. Tight corsets, layers of lining, long trains and elaborate bodices were abandoned for a freer style.


This reflected the greater freedom available to women following the First World War. Women gained the right to vote in 1918, and some of the former Edwardian social restrictions, particularly those relating to dress, were relaxed. Wearing a dress that showed off the legs like this one would have been unthinkable before the War.


Madame Clapham’s extravagant feminine designs became less popular as young women adopted the new shorter, straighter style of the 1920s. The typical 1920s style of this dress shows that Madame Clapham did try to adapt to new trends to keep up with current fashions.

Click through to the next page to see more of Madame Clapham's designs or view the image gallery.

Document icon Learning article provided by: Hands-on History Museum, Hull | 
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