Not everyone who loves to wear vintage fashion can afford to invest in collectible top tier designer pieces. But there are still plenty of more affordable labels to choose from where you can get yourself an extremely well made dress or suit. Clothes that will surely retain or even increase in value over time, considering how much more difficult it has become to find good quality vintage clothing in fine condition.
One of these labels is “Miss Elliette”, a California dress company started by Elliette Ellis that was in business from the 1950s through the 1990s.. Love her name! Reminds me of a character from a romance novel or classic film character.
Ms. Ellis was born in Montreal, Quebec. She started painting when she was just a young girl and always dreamed of becoming an artist. But when she eventually left home for New York to attend art school, she noticed how so many talented artists in Greenwich Village were struggling to get by. Knowing she didn’t want to become another starving artist, she decided on a fashion design career instead and ended up attending the Traphagen School of Fashion.
From an article in The Telegraph in 1968, explaining why she choose fashion design. “I loved clothes and never saw them as I liked them to be- romantic and feminine.” And if there is one thing that stands out about Miss Elliette designs it’s their extravagant use of chiffon in party dresses and evening gowns. Can’t get much more romantic and feminine than that!
From the age of 18 she had dreams of owning her own business. After school she worked for dress manufacturer Carl Naftal, where she learned the garment business. Instead of a salary, she took a percentage of the profits from the apparel she designed. And she actually ended up making quite a substantial sum from the sales.
She eventually married an insurance executive, moved to Los Angeles, and started her own business in 1952. Her fashion philosophy, according to the article, was that regardless of what the male designers were doing, she believed most women wanted to look feminine, particularly for evening. And she provided her customers with plenty of yards of floaty chiffon, ruffles and sequins to satisfy the most romantic of tastes. And according to this 1972 newspaper article Ms. Elliette’s fashion house purchased undyed chiffon and actually dyed it to match the color of flowers. At that time they offered 35-40 different shades!
Above is a lovely red chiffon Miss Elliette party dress from the early 1960s that we recently acquired. Currently available on our website
Her earlier designs are considered very desirable. So keep an eye out for this lesser known label!