1963 Basin Street East, Red Gingham Dress

Barbra Streisand wore this gingham sheath dress during her concerts at Basin Street East, where she opened for Benny Goodman. Her performances ran from May 13th-June 1, 1963 and she was paid $2,500 per week. The club was located in the ballroom of NYC’S Shelton Towers Hotel, which is now The New York Marriot East Side. Pianist Mike Melvoin who conducted at Basin Street East said “Back then, you’d go out and say-where are the fucking nightclubs we see in movies? Then you’d go to basin Street East and here it was.” Developed by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s grandfather James T Lee, Shelton Towers was the first tall building to go up in postwar NYC.

The 34 story, 1200 room hotel was the world’s tallest when built. Barbra was just one of the many legends to work in this building. In 1925 Georgia O’Keefe lived in an apt on the 30th floor, and painted several works of the view from her room. In 1926 Houdini performed an escape from an airtight case at the bottom of the hotel pool. Jazz greats Ella Fitzgerland, Count Basie, Duke Ellingtonand more performed in the club. Peggy Lee had a five year residency at Basin Street East, commanding a whopping $10,000 a week. The hotel closed from 1971-1979 before reopening as Halloran House with renovated interiors. It was bought by Marriot in 1990. The rectangular shell of Basin Street East remains today as a conference room. 

Barbra’s red gingham dress was designed by her. Here you start to see her signature style elements emerge, including the low scooped neckline which she would incorporate into her stage clothes for years to come. This rayon sheath dress features an empire waist with two darts under the bust and at the back. White chiffon balloon sleeves are trimmed with matching gingham at the cuff, along with two fabric buttons. It has a slit back and zipper, hook and eye closure. This look was extremely popular in the 60’s. This dress sold at auction in 2004 for $2050.00 USD