Friday, 17 October 2014

Spotlight on Designers at Dirty Fabulous: Kiviette

We have some special gems in the store at the moment so I thought I would tell you a little more about their provenence!

First up is

This beautiful 1940's strapless gown is currently in stock with us at Dirty Fabulous.
Bust - 40"
Waist - 30"

Born Yetta Schminsky,in 1893, she married Abel Kiviat and thereafter used the single name Kiviette professionally.
She designed for both theatre and fashion and was a very famous Broadway designer particularly during the 1930's.
Her Broadway career spanned from 1917 to 1948 and encompassed forty five Broadway shows, all musicals except two. 
She continued designing commercial fashion until the 1950's.

These original sketches by Kiviette were discovered in 1981 by museum director Oskar Pausch in The Theatre Museum at the Lobkowitz Palace in Vienna.
They were among an incredible 1,400 original sketches for musicals and musical revues produced on Broadway from 1900 to 1925 by over 66 American designers (20 of which have yet to be identified).
No one is quite sure how this collection came to be there but oh how I would love to see this astonishing array of sketches!!
They are so glamorous I can only imagine what the actual costumes were like, I'm picturing lush velvet, shimmering silks and sparkling jewels!
They are completely charming and full of fun!

During her Broadway career she designed for many, soon to be stars including, Fred and Adele Astaire (Fred's older sister and dance partner for 27 years)
Funny Face, Original Broadway production, 1927
Costumes by Kiviette
Music and Lyrics by Ira and George Gershwin

Tillie Losch, Fred Astaire, Adele Astaire, Frank Morgan & Helen Broderick

Tillie Losch

Fred Astaire and his sister Adele
The above photos are from the Broadway production of The Band Wagon, with costumes by Kiviette, New Amsterdam Theatre 1931 - 1932. 
This would be the last time that Fred performed on stage with his sister before she retired to marry Lord Charles Cavendish.

This is Lee Merriweather, winner of Miss America 1955 in a fabulous Kiviette evening gown

We always find it so astonishing to be able to look back at at the history of our vintage dresses.
It's thrilling to learn so much wonderful details about a piece in our collection.
This is especially possible when they have been created by a well known designer.
It makes them even more special!!!

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