Smithsonian - National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Costume Collection - Women's Dresses

Browse the Collection


Dress, 1-Piece - click to enlarge

Dress, 1-Piece - click to enlarge

Dress, 1-Piece - click to enlarge

Click photos to enlarge.

Dress, 1-Piece

Catalogue number: CS*216396.002

Date: 1926-1928

Maker: Drecoll

Designer: Maggy Rouff


Evening; pale blue satin; V-neck effect in front with sewn-in blue satin insert cut straight across bust and trimmed with white net at upper edge; left front of silk; right front bodice of satin with silver metallic fabric appliques in floral and leaf design; appliques further enhanced with multicolored silk embroidery and silver metal beads; right front drapes across to left hip where caught up to create folds in bodice and skirt; back of dress a very deep V with satin inset, cut straight across, stitched to inside; applied bands with silver metallic beads sewn to back inset and extending up over shoulders to form straps that are sewn to front; snap inner closure on right side; all raw seam edges overcast except at top of bodice where raw edges covered by white silk ribbon; additional hanging panel attached to left hip of metallic fabric with blue satin lining and large tassel made of bugle beads.


We do not know who wore this dress as it was donated by The Thrift Shop in Washington, D.C. This charity shop had received the dress, along with some other items, through an anonymous donation. They believed the clothing belonged in a museum. The style of the dress and its label are particularly interesting. Ch. Drecoll was a fashionable Paris Fashion House from 1900 to about 1929. It began as a dressmaking establishment in Vienna, Austria, owned by Baron Christophe Drecoll, a Belgian. In 1900 his designer, Mme. Besancon de Wagner and her husband, the shop's business manager, purchased the business and the right to use the name in Paris. They moved the business to Paris. After World War II, their daughter-in-law, Mme. Pierre Besacon de Wagner, better known as Maggy Rouff, started designing for them. She assumed control of the company by the late 1920s. In 1929 she began designing under her own name and became one of the leading designers in the 1930s and 1940s. Exhibited in the Hall of American Costume from 1964 to 1973.

Credit: Gift of The Thrift Shop