Tailored kaftan dress

Eloise Watts was 54 in 1970 and an hotelier for most of her working life. She married Victor Watts, an expatriate East Londoner, who became a highly respected liquor industry stalwart, well-known locally and abroad. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s they ran the Civic Tavern in Auckland’s CBD, establishing its London Bar, a jazz hub with a great variety of punters and “one of the most completely furnished cocktail lounges in the country” (Auckland Tourist Times). When Eloise's daughter died suddenly, she set about raising their young granddaughter Vicki, integrating the business around family life. Dinner parties, golfing, conferences away and endless dancing were memorable highlights of the 1970s. Eloise’s wardrobe was confidently polished, representing versatility without extravagance, and was often admired. Her approach was no doubt grounded in wartime and Great Depression experiences of thrift and adaptability. The influence of her two French grandmothers’ flair for dressing and their sage advice was immeasurable. Eloise embraced their belief that, “Everything must match darling!” Read more about 1970s fashion in the New Zealand Fashion Museum publication
The Age of Aquarius: A 70s Revolution in Fashion


Credit: Loan courtesy of Eloise Watts.
Copyright: Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 Licence
Designer: Alma Kimber
Manufacturing location: Chancery St, Auckland
Garment type: Dress
Material: Cotton sateen
Features: Although it appears very simple, this garment is quite tailored with a back zip and an internal elasticated half belt to ensure a precise fit under the bust.
Colour: Purple, violet, turquoise, navy, green, black
Purchase location: Auckland
Label: Southwell
Date: Mid 1970s