Metal formal dress was the most popular dress style of the 1920s and 30s, as the industrial revolution brought an unprecedented influx of women into formal wear.
In the years after World War I, the formal dress trend took a dramatic turn with the rise of the formal cocktail dress and the popularity of cocktail dress.
The trend of metallic formal evening dresses was the first to see a significant rise in popularity, and it’s still seen as the fashion of the 20th century.
However, as it’s no longer seen as a fashion trend, and many formal night dresses are now being made with more modern materials, there is a lack of understanding around the origins of metallic dress.
In the late 1920s, it was still fashionable to wear formal evening dress to parties and parties were popular.
But, in the 1920’s, there was a need for a new style of formal dress.
The Victorian era had seen the end of the traditional evening gown.
As the industrial era continued, the new formal dress had to be more fashionable, but still fit in with the traditional Victorian dress.
So, what was the origins for metallic formal night dress?
There are several theories on what exactly it was.
According to the Smithsonian Institute, in 1926, American architect Robert A. Brown built a metallic evening dress for the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSASL) in New York City.
He designed it in collaboration with the architect John J. Sutter.
Brown was a professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also taught.
Brown designed the dress for NSASL’s “Stern Style,” a group of evening dress styles.
Brown’s metallic formal outfit was designed for the NSASI, a style that incorporated a long skirt, a bow-tie, and a neckline.
It was also worn by women who worked in the garment industry.
The NSASII chose to call the dress “the formal evening gown.”
As Brown’s design evolved over the next two decades, more and more men and women started wearing metallic evening dresses.
According the Smithsonian, the dress has been worn by some of the greatest celebrities in American history.
During World War II, actress Marlene Dietrich wore metallic evening gowns.
In 1956, American actor Robert Mitchum wore metallic formal gowns at the Cannes Film Festival.
And in 1959, British actress Olivia Colman wore a metallic night dress for her performance of the song “Happiness Is a Warm Gun.”
In the 1960s, the style was popular among a generation of young women who had just moved into the post-war boom, and they were eager to find a way to wear this new style without compromising their traditional evening dress.
It’s not clear if this new trend influenced the design of the metallic night gown, but it certainly is a trend that has remained popular since the mid-20th century, especially in the United States.
In 2020, it’s estimated that the trend for metallic night dresses has grown to over 4.5 million people, according to the Institute for American Fashion and Design (IAFD).
However, even as metallic formal evenings continue to gain popularity, there are still many people who still believe that the dress is still too feminine for modern times.
Some say that the traditional metallic dress has too many waist bands, or that it looks too much like a traditional dress.
And while some people still think that metallic formal attire looks dated, the trend has become a popular choice for weddings, ball gowns, and cocktail dresses, with the exception of the “classic” metallic formal outfits.
Source: Smithsonian.gov (United States)