1923 Dress

Date: ca. 1923 - Material: Chiffon - Accession: 2001.191.1.0749

A bohemian look became popular in the 1920s. This dress with an ethnic print has a bateau neckline and a tiered skirt with Fortuny-esque pleats. Mariano Fortuny, was a Spanish fashion designer who was inspired by non-Western fashions and opened a couture house in 1906 until 1946. He is known for his innovative, yet secret pleating process. This style of pleats is like small uneven accordion pleats.

A sewn-in label indicates it was purchased at “Gregory’s/ Billings Montana”. The donor, Mrs. J.K. Moffitt appears in the U.S. Census in 1910 and 1930 as the wife of a farmer in Lodi, Iroquois County, Illinois. In 1920, however, her family was ranching outside Billings, Montana. This dress becomes material evidence of the family’s movement.

Donated to the University of Illinois Bevier Historic Costume Collection by Mrs. J.K. Moffitt. Property transfer to the Illinois State Museum, 2001.