Hello Dolly Purple Floral Gown

Barbra Streisand wore this gorgeous purple silk gown in “Hello Dolly” (1969.) Costumes for Hello Dolly were designed by Irene Sharaff (1910-1993). This was the fourth and last production that Irene would work with Barbra on. Sharaff also designed costumes for Barbra in Funny Girl (both the Broadway and film versions) and for the “A Happening In Central Park” concert. This look was also featured on the cover of LIFE magazine on Feb 14th, 1969. “Hello Dolly” is set in the 1890’s, which inspired this gorgeous Victorian gown. During the mid-1890s, skirts took on an A-line silhouette that was almost bell-like. The late 1890’s returned to tighter sleeves often with small puffs or ruffles capping the shoulder but fitted to the wrist. In the very late 1890’s, the corset elongated, giving the women a slight S-bend silhouette that would be popular well into the Edwardian era. 
This gown has many of those classic features. It is made from purple silk with a slightly darker purple crew neck lining. The arms and neck are sheer and unlined. The detailing on this dress is what makes it outstanding. Rows of ruched silk in three colors criss-cross this gown and are beautifully weaved into one other. Each handmade flower on this dress features eight ribbon folds and a button at it’s center. These start large at the bottom and decrease in size as they reach the torso of the dress. They also change in color from bottom to top, from various shades of mauve and purple to a pale nude. The belt line of this dress is accented with a ruched mauve V shape. A tiny flower sits at center of the stand up lace collar. The dress features a zipper and hook and eye closure. The ruched silk continues as caps on the shoulders and at the sleeve hems. A matching drawstring purse with a flat bottom featuring all of these elements accessories this dress. A Victorian hat with plume feathers at the crown completed this look in the film. This was one of the many famous costumes saved by Debbie Reynolds. It was auctioned on June 18th, 2011 at an asking price of $20-30,000 USD.

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