Evening Dresses by Parisian Designer Marcel Rochas (1950s)

Marcel Rochas (1902-1955) was born in Paris wher he opened his house in 1924. He was encouraged by Jean Cocteau, Christian Berard and Paul POIRET.

He was a strong, influential designer with an international reputation, who anticipated many of the most prominent fashion trends of the 20th century.

Rochas favoured hourglass silhouettes and often worked with flower-patterned fabrics. He promoted the three-quarter-length coat and was one of the first designers to feature pockets in skirts. Rochas also specialized in separates and accessories, which he sold from a boutique in his salon.

Marcel Rochas died in 1955 at the early age of 53 (source).

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Marcel Rochas, Evening Dress, 1951 via

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Marcel Rochas, Dress, in Vogue, 1950 via

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Marcel Rochas and a model, 1950 via

Beautiful Vintage Millinery by Lilly Daché (1898 – 1989)

Lilly Daché (1898 – 1989) was a French milliner and fashion designer. During her career she was the most famous milliner in the United States.

In her native France, Lilly Daché was considered (by her mother, no less) a homely child. Lilly’s thin, strong face with its green cat’s eyes and framing of straight red hair were deemed ugly. Not too surprisingly, little Lilly turned to adornment to amend her failings: braiding cherries into her hair & making hats from grape leaves. Her passion creating beauty took her to Paris to study hatmaking (after all, as Lilly says, if your hat is correct, it can compensate for a world of faults).

Lilly Daché designed for Hollywood films and had many clients who were movie-stars. International star Maria Montez loved her Lillys so much, she created a scene at Chicago’s Union Station when she discovered 2 of her 8 Daché hatboxes were missing. Never mind that she was being reunited with her medal-strewn soldier-husband whom she hadn’t seen for a year–Maria had bigger fish to fry. “I want my Daché hats!” she stormed after briefly smiling for the photographers.

Her designs and hats are valued highly by collectors of vintage clothes. Both the designer Halston and the hair stylist Kenneth worked for her before going into business for themselves.

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Lily Dache checking out her hat design via

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Hat by Lilly Daché via

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Barbara Mullen wearing a headpiece by Lilly Daché, New York, 1951. Photo by Richard Avedon via

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Hat by Lilly Daché via

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Carmen Miranda wearing hat/turban by Lilly Daché via

Costume and Fashion Designer Oleg Cassini (1913-2006)

Oleg Cassini (1913 – 2006) was an American fashion designer born to an aristocratic Russian family with maternal Italian ancestry. He came to the United States as a young man after starting as a designer in Rome, and quickly got work with Paramount Pictures.

Cassini established his reputation by designing for films. He gained additional renown by designing for First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. “The Jackie Look” was highly influential in American design.

He also designed for Rita Hayworth, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood and Gene Tierney whom he married in 1941; they separated after the birth of their first daughter. She began a romance with John F. Kennedy. Their romance was short lived as he could never marry her because of his political ambitions. She reconciled with Cassini and they had a second daughter. This marriage lasted until 1952 and they remained friends.

After his divorce Cassini and Grace Kelly were briefly engaged, but her family would not approve the marriage as he was 16 years her senior, twice divorced, had 2 children and was non-catholic.

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Oleg Cassini designed this gown for Gene Tierney, though a speedy elopement meant it was never made and worn. Five years later, the gown saw the light of day for Gene’s role in the movie Razor’s Edge (1946), for which Oleg designed her costumes via

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Marilyn wore a smoldering red Oleg Cassini velvet gown to accept her Best Young Box Office Personality award in 1951. She later wore it for a sensual publicity portrait via

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Grace Kelly at the premiere of Rear Window, 1954. Her dress was designed by Oleg Cassini who was her escort that evening. Photo by Frank Worth via

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Oleg Cassini dressing Lana Turner via

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Jackie Kennedy Onassis in iconic 1961 Presidential Inauguration gown by Oleg Cassini via