Chiara Floral Dress in black & creme by Elise Design.
Australian boutique Elise Design specialises in ethical hand-made ‘new vintage’ garments, with fresh modern designs inspired by the styles and silhouettes of the 1930s through to the 1960s. I have been purchasing garments from Elise Design for several years, starting with a beautiful 1950s style cotton dress from their old brick and mortar store in Fitzroy. The Chiara Floral Dress joins a treasured collection of hand-made limited edition dresses, blouses, cardigans, skirts and trousers designed by Sydney based designer Thu Nguyen and sewn in a small-scale ethical workshop in Vietnam.
The silhouette of this dress is very flattering. I am obsessed with the way the fabric drapes over my shoulders – it is so soft and delicate, and is very similar to my much-adored Annie Floral Dress also by Elise Design. This combined with the fitted natural waist creates that beautiful, iconic 40s tea dress aesthetic, with a touch of 1930s unstructured elegance. It can be paired with a light brown, black, white or even green 1940s style belt to create an accentuated ‘nipped in’ silhouette. This dress features a Peter Pan collar with small keyhole and practical button detail at the front, which can be worn open if you’re after a more casual 1940s shirt blouse look. There is an invisible centre back zip which runs down past the waist, making it nice and easy for me to get in an out of – for my fellow chronically ill and disabled friends.
One issue I frequently have with reproduction 1940s dresses is the torso and the skirt are made the same length, meaning that on taller folks like myself the dress isn’t long enough and ends up looking more modern, rather than having that distinct past-the-knee elegance of 1940s dresses. As is the case with all of my Elise Design dresses, the skirt of the dress is significantly longer than the torso, so praise the vintage gods – there’s plenty of length to fall nicely below my knees.
The Chiara Floral Dress is made in a polyester fabric with a glossy, satin-like appearance, and like all of my Elise dresses it is fully lined. Generally, I tend to shy away from polyester and opt for natural fabrics that are kinder to my skin, and most of my Elise Design garments are cotton, linen or wool. Most of the fabrics used in Elise Design garments are sewn using cut offs to minimise fabric wastage, and as a result some items are made using synthetic fabrics. You can find more information about their sustainability efforts and workshop here. If you prefer to avoid synthetic fabrics altogether, Elise Design offers plenty of stunning alternatives in heavenly prints to suit every colour palette – the 1940s style Loretta Navy Dress, Anderson Floral Dress, Bee Black Floral Dress and May Checker Dress among many, many others.
The Chiara Floral Dress’ black-green-cream-brown colour palette and classic silhouette suit my aesthetic perfectly, and I know I’ll be able to create a wide range of unique outfits using this one beautiful dress as a base. This outfit, kindly gifted by Elise Design, is Autumnal heaven with era perfect deep plum / burgundy wool knit and 100% leather heels – all available at Elise Design.
Explore my Chiara Floral Dress Style Gallery:
I am wearing a Size 6 with the following body measurements:
Bust: 33″ / Waist: 26″ / Hips: 36″ / Height: 5’8″
Any questions? Leave me a comment below and I will get back to you!
This outfit was generously gifted by Elise Design. The above review is my own honest opinion of the garment. Links to the brand’s website are provided solely for the convenience of the reader.