Yes, I did just post this photo of a catalog page from 1926, but we need to take a closer look at the dress on the right. In the Filene’s catalog the dress was described as “the Vionnet style of tennis dress”. Elsewhere in the catalog the same style bodice with a square neck and a line of fagotting across the top of the bust appears.
As you must know by reading this blog, haute couture is interesting to me, but it’s not what I collect or study. I was intrigued by the repeated reference to Vionnet, so I did spend some time looking through all my books that might have a picture of Vionnet dresses to see if I could spot this neckline.
Interestingly, a photo of the style turned up on Instagram, posted by @jupeculotte, Caroline Rennolds Milbank.
This is Miss Diana Dalziel, whom you may recognize as Diana Vreeland. The photo was taken aboard the S.S. Cameronia in 1923. Milbank stated that she had always suspected this dress was by Vionnet (or was a copy) but was able to confirm this until she saw my catalog page.
It seems impossible that the internet has brought about such a change in the way historical information is shared. Before the www one could buy a few catalog reprints like those from Dover (still an excellent resource) and if one was lucky one might pick up some old catalogs from antique stores and thrift shops. Today, a simple google or Pinterest search brings up dozens of pages of catalogs from decades past.
At times I get really frustrated with the internet with all it’s ugliness and dark places. But then I remember how it really has opened up the ability to research almost any topic from the remotest corner of the earth.