Smithsonian - National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Costume Collection - Women's Dresses

Browse the Collection


Dress, 1-Piece - click to enlarge

Click photos to enlarge.

Dress, 1-Piece

Catalogue number: CS*278834.001

Date: 1967

Maker: Donald Brooks

Designer: Donald Brooks


Evening; black, white, and green, four-ply printed silk crepe long dress; very large tulip print on left shoulder and right side front with green stems and leaves on lower section of dress; sleeveless; A-line; round neckline; left shoulder opening with eight hooks-and-eyes; left side nylon zipper closure; fully lined floating panel attached at back shoulder seams; panel lined in same fabric as dress; dress lined in white china silk.


This dress was a gift from the designer. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1928, he studied fine arts and English at Syracuse University. Later he studied art history and design at the Parsons School of Design in New York. In 1958, after working for several fashion firms including Townley (best known for the employment of another designer, Claire McCardell), he began designing under his own name. Simple and uncluttered lines, fine tailoring, and pure and unusual colors were his hallmark. He often used specially designed fabrics, such as this example designed by Julian Tomchin and manufactured by Chardon Marche, a U.S. textile company. He was awarded the Coty Fashion Award in 1958, 1962, 1967 and 1970. He received the New York Drama Critics Award in 1963 for his costumes for the theatre production of Richard Rodgers' No Strings. This dress was part of the Brooks Resorts Collection in 1967 and retailed for $435. Exhibited in Suiting Everyone: The Democratization of Clothing in America from 1974 to 1979.

Credit: Gift of Donald Brooks