I'm not really in the business of selling vintage clothes, but occasionally I need to clear space in the closet so here is where I'll be adding the odd piece from my own personal collection (like this piece) that I have built up over the years for research purpose, or that I have discovered on my travels and have no space for.
This is a really rather wonderful and unique original antique early 20th century (somewhere between Edwardian and 1920s I would estimate) black silk satin opera coat. It has no labels....like many clothes of the time this would probably have been made to order for the owner by a dressmaker rather than purchased from a store. It was clearly made by someone of no small skill....it really is beautifully made, with lots of exquisite well executed detail, and using very fine quality fabrics.
The shell of the coat is constructed from a wonderfully supple glossy heavy jet-black silk satin, and is fully lined in a very slightly lighter weight black silk satin. It has a great fluid drape, and is still as black as midnight with absolutely no fading inside or out.
The 3/4 sleeves have wide bands of soutache cord decoration, which is echoed on the generous collar and in a luscious deep area at the back hem of the coat. The coat fastens with three large medallions of coiled silk rope that conceal metal hook fasteners. There is also a band of patterned cotton fabric inset into the collar, which really makes this piece unusual.
The silk satin lining extends right to the hem of the coat, and to the cuffs of the sleeves. There is a useful neatly bound and surprisingly capacious pocket set into the left breast of the lining.
It is in excellent condition, with absolutely no fading or shattering of the silk satin shell, and it looks like it has been stored away very carefully so it is in very robust wearable condition. The silk satin lining is also in excellent unmarked and strong condition, apart from two facing panels, one at either side front, which were starting to shatter and shred. These have been removed and replaced with a near identical silk satin, so you really can not tell at all that they are not original to the piece.
There was also two or three small areas of the soutache cording on one of the sleeves that were starting to unravel, so these have been stabilised and stitched back in place.
The three hook bars that were presumably in position on the left hand side of the coat to match up with the hooks on the opposite side were missing, and there were three small holes in the silk (1-3mm in diameter) marking where they had been attached. After careful consideration I decided to cover these with three black silk medallions (made using a technique I saw on another coat from the period), stitched flat to the garment, and bearing thread 'bars' for the hook fasteners. These are concealed under the silk rope medallions when the coat is closed, but also give a pleasing effect when the coat is worn open. They could of course be removed if preferred.
This is in superb clean condition, with no musty smell, this would make a great wearable collector's piece, or is ideal for any theatrical or re-enactment purposes as it is so sturdy. The only flaws that I noted (apart from those previously mentioned) were a couple of tiny pin holes near the hem, only noticeable when you really examine the silk carefully, and possibly a teeny smudge or two commensurate with it's great age, and only visible when up in certain lights.
I have photographed it on a mannequin with the following measurements;
Length; nape to back hem, 51"
I would say this would ideally be best on a UK size 8-12. It could fit up to a 39" bust and 42" hips and still do up, but the shoulders would be very snug and the drape would not look so generous.