Smithsonian Collections

Black beaded dress designed by Zelda Wynn and worn by Ella Fitzgerald

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Data Source
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Description
This black beaded full-length gown was designed by Zelda Wynn and worn by Ella Fitzgerald. The dress is made from black synthetic crepe fabric that is hand beaded with black glass seed and bugle beads, and black sequins in a floral vine design. The bodice is short-sleeved and has a scoop neck in the front and a V-neck in the back. There is a metal zipper in the center back that goes to the hip, and a hook-and-eye at the top of the zipper. The gown has a princess cut waist, but there is no seam at the waist. The gown has a column skirt with a slit on the proper right side that is 24 1/2" high and contains a rounded hem. At the top of the slit, there is a pre-tied black velvet bow that is sewn to the dress.
The dress is fully lined with a black synthetic fabric, except at the bottom of the sleeves. The hem of the sleeves, the interior neck line, and the skirt hem are finished with black ribbon. The designer label on the interior proper left back of the bodice is cream with black embroidered text and reads: "Zelda Wynn / NEW YORK, N.Y."
Designed by
Zelda Wynn, American, 1905 - 2001
Worn by
Ella Fitzgerald, American, 1917 - 1996
Date
late 1940s
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of the Estate of Ella Fitzgerald
Medium
synthetic fiber, velvet, glass beads, plastic sequins, and metal fasteners
Dimensions
H x W: 46 x 20 in. (116.8 x 50.8 cm)
Type
gowns
See more items in
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Classification
Clothing-Fashion
Object number
2010.20.1
Topic
African American
Clothing and dress
Fashion
Fashion design
Jazz (Music)
Singers (Musicians)
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions