Saturday, April 24, 2010

That 70's Dress

Gunne Sax white dress from eBay

I have a new obsession---vintage Gunne Sax maxi-dresses from the late 1960's and the 1970's. I'm not exactly proud of it. First off it's almost doltfully un-chic, considering the name Gunne Sax refers to Gunny Sacks, as in BURLAP BAGS, which were allegedly used to make the trim of the original collection of dresses. Perhaps the naming was meant to be ironic, but somehow I have a feeling it was meant to be evocative of the humble days of prairies and pioneers that the dresses often aspire to sartorially imitate. Secondly, the dresses often are described with somewhat gag-inducing eBay adjectives like "boho" and worse yet, "Ren Fair" or "demure wench," and are usually accompanied by poorly styled photos evoking the above terms. Is your stomach turning yet?

In short, these aren't the type of clothes I'd naturally be drawn to. I blame it on Alyssa, and working at her store, The Sweet Ones, yesterday. Being surrounded by an archive of authentic 19th century clothing for a full day inevitably makes you want to dress in it. Unfortunately authentic Victorian clothing was cut for true Victorian ladies, with 22-inch corset-cinched waistlines, rather than my modern frame. The Gunne Sax 70's interpretation is still slender, but more forgiving, and with forty years of aging, almost looks truly antiquated, save for the modern details: zippers where bridal buttons should be, high collars descending into modestly revealing necklines, synthetic fabric lining. Plus, they look even better once you try them on, with their perfectly billowing leg-of-mutton style sleeves, and their seemingly endless cascading hemlines. Of course they easily lend themselves to the hippie outfits that they were arguably originally intended for, but to me, they're evocative of John Singer Sargent via Virgin Suicides. Here are some of the best Gunne Sax dresses I've found for sale around the internet. Naturally I didn't share my absolute favorites--I might want to bid on them myself!

Prairie style Gunne Sax dress, $58 from Mother's Daughter

Gunne Sax lace Victorian style dress, $124 on eBay

Gunne Sax 70's corseted dress available on Ebay for $166.
Gunne Sax corseted dress $72 on eBay

-Tiffany

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10 comments:

pink horrorshow said...

I went to The Sweet Ones for the first time a few weeks ago to model some clothes for my friends line. It is so much fun in there!! I couldn't get enough of the swing :)

Maggie said...

There was a time when I was in love with vintage Gunne Sax. I still own one from that time in my life. I've only worn it once though because it's so lacy, I feel too dressed up in it anywhere I go.

Mouthwash said...

ooooh I love these!

Amber
ambersmouthwash

Insomnia said...

The white ones are my faves!

Susie Bubble said...

I tried to go to The Sweet Ones on Wednesday but for some reason, it was closed! So gutted...
Didn't know you were working there!
I always hap onto the most amazing Gunne Sax dresses on eBay... you'd look amazing in them along with some stomping platforms...

Isabel said...

I could totally never pull these off but they're amazing regardless.

___ said...

we totally need to hang out more. the gurlz pluz Zon.

Kalaidascopes said...

I came across your post on google because if My obsession with Gunne Sax Vintage Dresses... I buy and sell them now just because it gives me an excuse to obsess over them and buy a bunch without feeling guilty haha

I have a blog if anyone's interested in just random pictures of Gunnies FYgunnesax.tumblr.com

Jessica said...

I have the exact dress as shown in the top picture, was curious about it and saw yours. My mom and I used to go to antique shops when I was little to find dress up clothes and this is one of the things we picked up :)

Jessica said...

Hi! I have the exact dress shown in the top picture.(mine may be a little more aged looking). I was curious about it so I figured I would do a quick search for it online, and saw yours. When I was little, my mother and I would go to antique shops quite a bit, and she would often let me pick out a "dress up" item (before the days where you could just go to the store and pick up a princess dress)lol, so,this is how I came to have my dress, It's one of my treasures from childhood, just thought I would share... :)