Friday, May 16, 2008

feelin' it

I have always, as far back as I can remember, been obsessed with Gunne Sax & Jessica McClintock dresses. It must have started some time when my subscription to Barbie Magazine began. I remember looking at the ads of little girls in these amazing McClintock party frocks looking gorgeous and sophisticated for mere 10 year olds. I would wait outside on the front steps on spring nights to watch my neighborhood babysitters dressed in full length Gunnes with matching chiffon cape-lets & boleros on the way to the prom.
This fascination cooled for awhile until a recent trip to San Francisco (home of the Gunne) where I found a 1970's Gunne Sax in a second hand shop on Haight Street. After that the obsession started all over again and now I have a small collection growing. These pieces are so well constructed and with such great details-velvet inlays, contrast trim, pearl buttons, lace hems. No one makes anything like this anymore. The company was actually named after the "gunny sack" or burlap trim used on some of the earlier dresses. Some collectors consider clothing with the original "black label," used only in 1969, the most valuable. A "hearts label" was used for a short time following, until the 1970s and early '80s larger label with scrollwork was put into use. Here are some recent ebay listings showcasing the rare and usually most beautiful Black Label pieces.

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