Friday, July 20, 2012

Sequin Heaven

The photo that caught Mary Ellen's attention -- Lyn Revson, NYC 70's style icon and muse to American designer Norman Norell featured in Vogue, 1973. She's wearing Norell's "Mermaid Dress", his shapely and elegant sequin-covered evening gown. 

A couple weeks ago I suggested to my Aunt Mary Ellen that she could start a style blog. She has so many personal stories about glamorous clothes and she's such an avid reader of all the premiere fashion publications, she would be a natural.  Plus she's a great supporter of this blog. ME laughed at my suggestion. But a week later this letter arrived in the mail. I loved her story so much I wanted to share it with you:

Dear Lesa,
When I saw Lyn Revson sprawled across the pages of Vogue in a gold sequin "mermaid" dress, I knew I had to have it. I approached Helen* and off we went to the Yardstick fabric store at the end of Canal Street**. It was our N.Y. fabric store run by ex New Yorkers and had everything you wanted. We bought large spools of gold sequins (five cents a yard - imagine) and YSL fabric which was a remnant from the designer's showrooms. I was in heaven. We meticulously took off sequin by sequin and Helen cut all the pieces from her own pattern and we started to sequin, sequin, sequin. Each one was sewn on one by one but my biggest job was to keep removing the sequins by cutting the threads, which was hard on the fingers. After the dress was completed, Helen made a matching turban and long green velvet cape with hood. I wore the dress to a party Ella and Adelaide*** had at their beautiful home on Prytania Street complete with a ballroom. It was a glorious evening. At one point a very fashionable woman came up to me and said "You are wearing a beautiful Norell, one I just saw in New York." I was flabbergasted but didn't dare say it wasn't. I was afraid to turn and let her see the back because we only saw the front in Vogue. I only hoped it was right. I felt like Cinderella leaving the ball. The dress is wrapped in tissue in a box. I'm afraid to open it for fear the sequins have tarnished -- I want to remember it as my beautiful "Norell" that was photographed for Figaro and worn to many grand openings. Those were the days.

"My snail mail blog pour vous,"

*Helen: Mary Ellen's mother and my great aunt.
**Canal Street in New Orleans.
***Ella and Adelaide Brennan: sisters and New Orleans restaurant royalty.

Mary Ellen with my Uncle Ron wearing her "Norell" mermaid gown that she and her mother, Helen, made sequin-by-sequin. And Mare's personal touch, a matching super chic sequined turban. 
Photo from Figaro, a New Orleans alternative weekly from 1972-1981.

A model in the Mermaid gown with Norman Norell, 1972

Mary Ellen modeling her "Norell" in the 70's.
Still amazing that Helen created this gown just from a photo.

1 comment:

  1. What a stunner Mary Ellen was! Far more beautiful than the model wearing the original gown. I love that the reporter also described, in detail, Ron's ensemble as well. Great Auntie Helen was not exactly lacking in talent either, was she?