Monday, September 5, 2011

Gail Carriger in a Gold Gown at Reno WorldCon 2011

So, on Saturday night at Reno WorldCon, Fashionable Reader, I wore my Fashioned By Flobért gold robe dress.

 The dress is stained and slightly faded, in a heavy satin. This makes it only suitable for low-light late evening events, and warm, and in ever great need of ironing. But it is super comfortable. I bought it on sale for $10, it needed repairs and new buttons all up the front. I have a great source for vintage buttons in Petaluma and I sourced 32 abalone shell replacements for $10 plus narrowing every single button hole. It was quite the task. I do like the architectural details in the bodice. I'm inclined to want to find a nice wide brown belt for it at some point.

It actually has a bit of a train, in that the front is shorter than the back, showing off the shoes. I was going to wear it with t-strap dark brown shoes, to highlight the 1940's feel, but these sandals were more comfortable with my blisters from the first day of WorldCon.

Soft brand t-strap shoes, started life pinky-red had them dyed brown, and Calvin Klein wedge sandals, my staples this summer. Both from Nordstrom Rack, probably about $35 each.

I call it a robe dress even though it doesn't have the requisite sash tye, mainly because of the length and the sleves, which remind me of a bathrobe. To me it has a very 1940's feel, but I'm not certain that is the correct time period, it might be more early 1950s.

1941 short winter robe dress; 1944 Charles James dressing gown

1950s robe style dresses.

I paired it with my favorite tarantella brown netted hat and a vintage brown bag from Hubba Hubba and some retro drop golden pearl earrings.

This style of dress is pretty flattering on more figures. And it has been around a long time, since the 1930s. I tend to feel pairing it with chocolate brown tones down the over-the top glamor of the gold.

Left is a Madeleine Vionnet dress ca. 1932-1934 via The Victoria & Albert Museum

 This tone of gold, the more muted rose gold or old gold is more versatile to different complexions. I think anyone from pale blonde to brunette to red head to African American to Asian to . . . . can wear this color and look very very elegant. It's a great alternative to a boring old black evening dress.

What to read when you are wearing your gold gown?

The equally elegant and incomparably well-written Freedom's Choice by Anne McCaffrey. This is the second book in her series started with Freedom's Landing. The series is not about the invasion and conquering of Earth. Like Douglas Adams, McCaffrey essentially blows up Earth in chapter one (well not completely, but Earth is basically irrelevant). The point is, a group of earthlings and other conquered sentients are dumped on an alien world to see if it is habitable, in other words, to survive to be conquered again or die. The main character is a brilliant tough Nordic lass and her hero a disgraced member of the conquering aliens. The books are fun space opera but in a Land of the Lost survivalist vein, with a wonderful romantic element and great alien species. I adore them. Next time I have a real vacation this series is coming with me for a reread. I think there are 4 books total, but you can stop after the 3rd.

Just because it's funny.


  1. I found Freedom's Landing at a used store and LOVED it but never knew there were more! Must buy this one asap!

  2. I couldn't resist trying to google up some belts for you. I know you tend to buy your vintage stuff in person and most of the sites are out of the US but I like these -

    This one's from Slovenia - which I should point out my mom's side of the family is from. I rather like the butterfly-like look to the front. (And frankly, I normally hate belts.)

    UK Based site, this is their listings by color. (OMG! PURPLE BELTS!)

    This one from Amazon is modern with no reviews, however, though I have no real eye for fashion, somehow I see this one going with that dress. But I might be totally wrong.

    Blogger wouldn't let me use HTML.

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  4. Lovely dress and it so exciting to see reference to possibly my favorite McCaffrey series at the end! I was beginning to think no one had read it...

    And re-reading the series over a long weekend sounds like an excellent idea. I have them all in print - Freedom's Choice was one of the first times I couldn't wait for the paperback and bought the hardcover

  5. I've been taking note of your reading suggestions (while browsing your lovely fashion advice - I dressed androgynously for the longest time because it was easiest because I have the square body shape - big shoulders, big hips, no defined waist nor chest) and wondered if you'd ever read Catherine Asaro? Her Skolian Saga series is one I started in the middle on accident and then backtracked - the author herself is a ballerina and a physicist, managing to mix art and science in many of her characters. It's space opera (with some truly heinous romance-novel type covers that make me cringe sometimes, but c'est la vie) with bits of romance and it has been all over the map; the character roster is starting to climb. Several of them can be read as stand-alones, with the important factoids inserted as necessary. The first book is "Primary Inversion" but the book that got me going "hmm, what IS this" was actually the sixth book, "Quantum Rose".

  6. I have read one or two of her books, but not, I think the series you mention.

  7. Do you know anything about the designer Flobert, the designer of your beautiful gold gown? I have a GORGEOUS Purple and gold gown by the same designer, perfect condition and I was trying to find any information about him (her?) I wore my gown last night to a formal New Years Eve party and it was the hit of the night. Elegance never goes out of style.

    1. Hi Heather, I recently received the following email.
      "I saw on one of your blogs that someone was looking for information about flobert. My grandmother was one of the owners of flobert. The company was named after my aunt florence and aunt bertha. It started around 1922 and went
      out of business in the 1970s. They were located on Madison avenue. If someone is interested in learning more about the company, there is one cousin alive who
      worked there plus a number of others who may recall some details." Drop me a line and I'll forward you the information. ~ Gail

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  9. Hi Heather,
    I do not know anything more than the interwebs have on Flobert. I'm delighted you wore it for New Years, do you have picture you can point me to? I'd be interested to see another one of his (her?) designs. I know the house specialized in robes and gowns for the boudoir, but that is all. I've put an alert out and see if I can gather any additional information, do a post about it in the future.

  10. Gail! I just found myself a Fashioned by Flobert dress. If you have any more information regarding this label can you email me at mail (at) norafinds (dot) com? I will mention your blog when I write about it on my blog!



  11. Hi Gail,
    I have an ivory boudouir nylon robe with a watteau back. It is exquisite!
    Mine would date to the 1950's. Very I Love Lucy style.
    As soon as I photograph it, I will direct you to my site.
    I have an Etsy store chock full of amazing vintage:


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