AN ART DECO DIAMOND TIARA, BY CARTIER Designed as a series of graduated diamond-set scrolls, each suspending pear-shaped diamond flexible pendants, centering upon a lozenge-shaped diamond, 1920s, inner diameter 12.0 cm, in red leather fitted Cartier case Signed Cartier London (Image from Christies)
This is my Robe de Style and it’s very fragile! I was actually shocked at how heavy the lace is! It’s really heavy! I was worried about putting it on my mannequin because I didn’t want the dress to decide that after 92ish years it was tired of being attached! Happily everything stayed together!
The lace in the front is in wonderful condition but it’s shattering across the back. It’s turned to a lovely bronze colour due to age but under the waistband you can still see spots that show how bright the gold was at one time. Dresses from the 20s are infamous for using real precious metals during the weaving process and you can obviously feel the truth in that. I don’t mean to keep mentioning the weight but it’s the most surprising thing about the piece!
The decoration at the waist is fashioned from French silk ribbon and velvet flowers wrapped in real gold and silver threads. They still catch the light brilliantly! I had a small flashlight out looking at the stitching last night and they glow like stars. I can’t imagine what she would have looked like in her prime!
I’m not sure if you can tell but the orange, blue, and red flowers/berries are all covered in velvet. The belt snaps on and the hanging pieces at the front and back remind me of a tunic. The edges are slightly padded with the gold lamé.
Yesterday when I saw it in the shop I noticed something odd about the hem and when I got it home I realized someone had taken the skirt up. It’s pulled out on the side so the hem is originally 8” long but someone shortened the hem to 4”.
The gold gold bullion trim joining the gold lamé to the lace is also quite heavy! I was actually worried about the weight being the cause of the shattering around the join of the lace to the hem. The trim has faded to a bronze color due to age but like the lace there are a few spots where the stitching is out and you can see that it’s still a bright shiny gold.
The underdress is rose gold lamé woven with gold thread and it’s also very heavy! I think that has become the common theme of this dress! There is some shattering around the hem and the threads are coming loose so you can feel the texture of the individual threads. The inside of the dress was a lovely rose chiffon but it’s shattering so badly that pieces crumble under your fingertips.
The panniers are made into the dress and are just like 18th century panniers! There is a long piece of cotton tape on each side keeping the pannier shape. I want to say they are made of buckram but it’s so unusual because it’s soft but at the same time it’s stiff enough to keep the shape.
I’m just in awe of the piece! I think it’s the grandest item in my collection!