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Vintage Midi Dresses

Of all the skirted items in our wardrobes, a midi dress is probably the most worn and enjoyed.  It is a great choice for night and day, work and play and its length makes it the most versatile of all gowns as designers throughout the 20th century have proved.  In shape, fabric, colour and style the choices to be found in vintage midi dresses is boundless.  We defy any woman to find a dress in the shops today without seeing the ghost of its vintage dress grandmother still present. 

At the beginning of the 20th century, as skirts lifted off the ground, women realised what they’d been missing. During the First World War, while the men were away, women entered roles never previously considered, and this new workforce needed their everyday clothes to become practical to suit their new working lives.  Today, this remains too true with midi dresses often worn as a great option for work when you want to wear one.  Once the skirts had lifted, there was really no bringing them back down to the ground, unless to a ball, and the 1920's and designers such as Coco Chanel and Jean Patou created a new athletic aesthetic of young athletic bodies in columnar simple dresses.  The below the knee and mid-calf length dresses of the 1920’s and the following 1930’s and 1940’s demonstrated how truly elegant this length of dress can be with shift dresses, layered dresses, tea dresses, coat dresses and shirt dresses in beautiful fabrics from sheer layered chiffons to shining lamé and printed cottons to shimmering satins.

In contrast, midi dresses of the 1950’s offer an entirely different aesthetic.  Christian Dior and his ‘New Look’ of 1947 took full effect in the 1950’s with expanding skirts and nipped in waists. Dior had wanted to emulate the femininity of the 1930’s before War put practicality first.  Now, ration books went out the window as yards of fabric were cut to create this new fabulous silhouette.  Yet, as the decade progressed and moved into the 1960’s femininity could be expressed in an entirely opposing way with skirts with hemlines narrower than the hips, creating the iconic ‘wiggle’ effect on curvaceous figure like Marilyn Monroe as they walked.  For those without the prefect hip to bottom ratio, the 1970’s offered a new and refreshing alternative with Diane von Furstenburg’s wrap dresses in bold simple prints. Introduced in 1974, this is a style of dress which has proved such a hit that its popularity is really yet to fade.  Whatever your favourite midi dress shape or style, find a perfect example from every decade on the Open for Vintage rails.

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YVES SAINT LAURENT 1970s Vintage Evening Dress Crystal Buttons Size S

A rare Yves Saint Laurent evening dress from the 1970s with crystal rhinestone buttons.

David Emanuel 1980s Pink Puff Sleeve Folk Dress

David & Elizabeth Emanuel Vintage Pink Cotton & Broderie Anglaise Dress, 1980s

Nina Ricci 1980s Green Velvet Vintage Party Dress

Nina Ricci Vintage Dark Green Velvet Swag Detail Evening Dress, 1980s

Louis Feraud 1980s Puff Sleeve Polka Dot Evening Dress

A 1980s black & blue polka dot evening dress by Louis Feraud

Halston 1970s Ultrasuede Peach Day Dress

A 1970s faux suede peach day dress by Halston

Maggy Rouff 1960s Haute Couture Pink Mod Dress

Maggy Rouff Haute Couture Pink Wool Vintage Shift Dress, 1960s

EMILIO PUCCI 1960s Vintage Signature Print Silk Dress Size XS-S

An exceptionally beautiful Emilio Pucci silk jersey dress featuring a graphic floral print with the iconic "Emilio" signature scattered throughout.

LEONARD 1970s Vintage Printed Silk Jersey Dress Size M-L

This beautiful Leonard dress from the 1970s is made of the typical fine silk jersey featuring a bold print in various shades of pink, beige and orange with the famous Leonard signature scattered throughout.

YVES SAINT LAURENT c. 1970 Documented Day Dress Size S

A rare and documented Yves Saint Laurent day dress from 1970.

LOUIS FÉRAUD 1960s Vintage Colourblock Mod Dress Size M-L

A rare Louis Féraud colourblock mod dress from the late 1960s with silver-tone metal embellishments.

CHRISTIAN DIOR 1960s Vintage Brocade Cocktail Dress Size S-M

An exceptionally beautiful Christian Dior brocade cocktail dress from the 1960s.

YVES SAINT LAURENT 1970s Vintage Secretary Dress Size S

This rare Yves Saint Laurent day dress from the 1970s is made of a dark blue crêpe with a graphic plaid print in white, red and green.

EMILIO PUCCI 1970s Vintage Printed Silk Dress Size S

An especially beautiful vintage Emilio Pucci silk jersey dress featuring a fabulous floral print.

GIVENCHY 1970s Vintage Green Jacquard Silk Dress Size XXS-XS

A superchic green jacquard silk dress by the house of Givenchy.

LOUIS FÉRAUD c. 1969 Vintage Set Sleeveless Printed Dress w/ Scarf Size XS

A stunning Louis Féraud dress with matching scarf from c. 1969 featuring a bold graphic print in brilliant colors, with the Louis Féraud signature scattered throughout.

PIERRE CARDIN 1960s Vintage Wool Dress w/ Belt Size S

A fabulous Pierre Cardin wool dress from c. 1967-1970 featuring a buttoned front and a circle detail at the center chest.

Temperley London Pink & Black Silk Dress

Temperley London Silk Intarsia Knitted Pink & Black Short Sleeve Dress

Vintage 1950s Nautical Theme Vintage Cotton Dress

Vintage 1950s Novelty Print Nautical Theme Brown & Green Cotton Shirtdress

Gai Mattiolo Couture 1990s Jersey Dress with Mesh Panel

Gai Mattiolo Couture Black Jersey Evening Dress with Mesh Insert Panel, 1990s

John Selby 1950s Red & Gold Panelled Dress

John Selby 1950s Vintage Red & Gold Brocade Jacquard Panelled Dress

J Tiktiner for Harrods 1970s Ruffle Silk Jersey Dress

J Tiktiner for Harrods French Couture Vintage Silk Ruffle & Black Jersey Dress

Marni 2010 Textured Short Sleeve Evening Dress

Marni Fuzzy Textured Gathered Silk Short Sleeve Party Dress, A/W 2010

Yohji Yamamoto 1990s Charcoal Grey Coated Silk Dress With Draped Capelet Collar

A striking 1990s vintage Yohji Yamamoto avant garde coated silk dress

Louis Feraud 1970s Red Long Sleeve Party Dress

Louis Féraud for Rembrandt Vintage Red Lurex Long Sleeve Knit Dress, 1970s

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