Black silk dress with slit back & diamanté buttons

Charmian Smith taught herself to sew as a student because she couldn't afford to buy the sort of clothes she wanted to wear. She still continues to make her own clothes. After returning from her OE in 1980, she worked for a decade in television and theatre as a wardrobe mistress and costume designer, except for a brief period after being made redundant from TVNZ. In 1987 she opened Costume, a boutique featuring clothes by Dunedin designers. Charmian was nominated for a Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Award in 1987. She drew on her experience dressing people for particular roles when she designed and made this dress to wear to the event. Read more about the history of home sewing in the New Zealand Fashion Museum publication Home Sewn.


Credit: Garment loan courtesy of Charmian Smith
Copyright: CC BY 4.0 International Licence
Designer: Charmian Smith
Maker: Charmian Smith
Garment type: Cocktail dress
Material: Silk
Features: Little black cocktail dress with peplum, slit back and padded shoulders
Colour: Black
Label: Clothes by Charmian
Date: Circa 1987