Tairawhiti Museum and Art Gallery
Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history
Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history Poverty Bay - taonga maori
Tairawhiti Museum and Art Gallery

Exhibitions & Galleries

Dresses for Special Occasions

1920s

1930s

1940s

1950s

1960s

About The Curator

Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history

Poverty Bay - taonga maori

1950s fashion found much of its inspiration in throwing off the shackles of wartime. Traditionally borrowers of British style, in the 1950s New Zealandersí heads were turned by the fashions and styles of the United States. The full skirted, feminine dresses emerging there were very appealing after years of often drab, uniform style and fabric rationing during the 1940s. Several years later than the rest of the world, the hourglass shape of the late 1940s finally arrived in New Zealand, accompanied by bright colours and a range of different styles. This is not to say that British style was summarily rejected In New Zealand, as the visit from the Queen in 1953-4 also had an impact on womenís fashion.

Synthetic fibres were more commonly used from the 1950s onwards, although they were generally used for evening wear. Acrylic fabric was developed in the 1950s, as was spandex and polyester. Hemlines continued to hover around the calf in the 1950s.

Click on the dresses for larger images and information

             
 Lace Dress                            Siltex Dress                              Wedding Gown                     Silk Dress