Fascination with Nelly Don Dresses

Posted by Bella Coeur on

A dress inspired me this morning.  Isn’t that fabulous?  I always do a little extra research for my descriptions whenever there is a label or an interesting feature or history.  I’ve had other Nelly Don dresses, but this one just has that Pitty-Pat Factor.  I love it.  I would wear it in a second, but it will take longer than a second to return to my pre-marital, pre-motherhood weight and shape.  Liposuction, here I come!

The style is just adorable with the wide waist, cap sleeves, and pleated skirt.  One of my favorites.  But it’s the F A B R I C that really caught my attention:  a dark, royal blue with black sort of amoebas and bright pink, green, white, and gray spring flowers scattered throughout.  They stand out so -  almost starkly.  It’s very striking and THEN it fastens at the center front with small rhinestone buttons.

So I did a little research about Nelly Don dresses.  In an archive of Time Magazine, there is an article entitled, “Nellie’s Big Night” dated Monday, October 18, 1948 that gives a brief overview of her success story. (An interesting side note – did the original article misspell “Nellie” throughout the article, or is it a transcription error?)  A documentary book and film “A Stitch in Time” that was made, I believe, by a nephew reveals that, besides having started the “largest dress manufacturing company in the world” she was actually kidnapped and refused to pay the ransom!    It has been stated that her company made 75 million dresses between 1916 and 1978.  Check out the Nelly Don website!

It fascinates me to learn about the lives of women like Coco Chanel and Nelly Donnelly who were successful business women with multi-million dollar businesses at time when most women were happy housewives (or not so happy).  Yep, we’ve come a long way!


Originally posted 5/12/2009

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