A Passion for Fashion - Madame Clapham Revisited

Black Velvet Evening Dress (c.1930-32)

This Madame Clapham evening dress of black velvet has a ruched sweetheart neckline and an intricately cut bodice. The dress has a high front with elbow length sleeves and it is fastened with four buttons. 

The simple but striking decoration found on the cuffs and waistband, is gold lame, with plastic gemstones. The full length dress has a low v-neck and a gathered panel at the back.


This dress looks simple, but the velvet fabric is specially cut to give a flattering fit. The full skirt is bias cut. This means the fabric has been cut diagonally across the grain. Cutting fabric like this makes it more flexible, so it clings to the person wearing it. 

The skirt measures over three and a half metres around the hem. The skirt and bodice are gathered towards a diamond-shaped piece of fabric on the dress front.

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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