An Inside Look at the Fabulous Wardrobe of Marjorie Merriweather Post

Haven’t been posting on the blog in a while since I’ve been off on my annual summer buying trip.  And in my travels I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Hillwood Mansion in Washington D.C and their Ingenue to Icon exhibit that features the amazing fashion of Hillwood’s previous owner, Marjorie Merriweather Post.   Marjorie Post was a legendary socialite and philanthropist, who was also the founder of General Foods back in a time when it was extremely unusual for a woman to be the head of a company, especially a large company! 

She purchased the Hillwood Estate in 1955 with the intention of it eventually becoming a museum. The mansion houses her extensive collection of Russian Imperial art and French decorative art. And the magnificent gardens span 25 acres.

Although I enjoyed touring the spectacular estate immensely, my favorite part was the wardrobe collection, of course!

Marjorie was quite the fashionista, and often changed her outfits up to four times a day. By the time she graduated from finishing school she had already amassed an impressive wardrobe. Her father, C.W. Post, the founder of Post Cereal, once said to her “You have more than double the clothes, shoes and stuff that any girl, no matter how rich, should have at seventeen!”

She loved to entertain and was known for her lavish parties and grandly decorated homes and sailing yacht.  And even though she was once of the richest women in the world, she was always involved with helping those less fortunate.

The collection includes dresses and accessories from the Edwardian era to the late 1960s, many of which she had custom made.  

Below are 41 photos I took of various outfits from the collection, along with some photos of the elegant and glamorous Marjorie.

Reception dress from Bergdorf Goodman, worn by Marjorie Post for her senior portrait in 1904
Reception dress from Bergdorf Goodman, worn by Marjorie Post for her senior portrait in 1904
Bodice of Reception dress from Bergdorf Goodman, worn by Marjorie Post for her senior portrait in 1904
Bodice closeup of Reception dress from Bergdorf Goodman, worn by Marjorie Post for her senior portrait in 1904
Evening dress by Callot Soeurs, Paris, 1907. Silk and cotton moire, tulle, silk ribbon cord and beading.
Evening dress by Callot Soeurs, Paris, 1907. Silk and cotton moire, tulle, silk ribbon cord and beading.
Bodice closeup of Callot Soeurs gown, 1907
Bodice closeup of Callot Soeurs gown, 1907
Marjorie Merriweather Post Visiting dress and jacket 1910. M.A. Boucicaut for Au Bon Marche, Paris
Visiting dress and jacket 1910. M.A. Boucicaut for Au Bon Marche, Paris
Closeup of jacket of visiting outfit-1910
Closeup of jacket of visiting outfit-1910
Evening dress of Silk taffeta, organza and cotton embroidery. ca. 1911
Evening dress of Silk taffeta, organza and cotton embroidery. ca. 1911
Cotton lawn and embroidery dress ca. 1912
Cotton lawn and embroidery dress ca. 1912
Silk lace and organza dress, ca. 1912
Silk lace and organza dress, ca. 1912
Afternoon dress in silk lawn, tulle and ribbon. Lucile, NYC, ca. 1917
Afternoon dress in silk lawn, tulle and ribbon. Lucile, NYC, ca. 1917
Bodice closeup of afternoon dress, ca. 1917
Bodice closeup of afternoon dress, ca. 1917
Pearl, Rhinestone decorated Silk velvet evening gown, France 1920
Pearl, Rhinestone decorated Silk velvet evening gown, France 1920
Silk velvet, tulle, faux pearl, rhinestone evening gown from France-1920
Bodice-Silk velvet, tulle, faux pearl, rhinestone evening gown from France-1920
Closeup of beading detail on French gown-1920
Closeup of beading detail on French gown-1920
Evening dress in Silk velvet, organza, glass beads, rhinestones. Design by Madame Frances, NY, 1925
Evening dress in Silk velvet, organza, glass beads, rhinestones. Design by Madame Frances, NY, 1925
Closeup of Beading Detail-Evening dress by Madame Frances, 1925.
Closeup of Beading Detail-Evening dress by Madame Frances, 1925.
Matching purse and fan.
Matching purse and fan.
Silk crepe, charmeuse and organza dress and cape designed by Thurn, ca. 1927. Inspired by the avant garde art of Picasso, Matisse and Kandinksy
Silk crepe, charmeuse and organza dress and cape designed by Thurn, ca. 1927. Inspired by the avant garde art of Picasso, Matisse and Kandinksy
Marjorie Merriweather Post, ca. 1928
Marjorie Merriweather Post, ca. 1928
marjorie-post-thurn-dress-1928
Silk velvet, charmeuse, crepe and metallic brocade dresss by Thurn, 1928
Evening dress in Black silk velvet, tulle, organza and rhinestones.Bergdorf Goodman, ca. 1929
Evening dress in Black silk velvet, tulle, organza and rhinestones.Bergdorf Goodman, ca. 1929
Bodice of black silk velvet evening dress from Bergdorf Goodman- ca. 1929
Bodice of black silk velvet evening dress from Bergdorf Goodman- ca. 1929
Closeup of beading detail on black silk velvet dress-1929
Closeup of beading detail on black silk velvet dress-1929
marjorie-post-waffle-crepe-day-dress
Jay Thorpe waffle crepe Day Dress ca. 1930
Marjorie Merriweather Post wearing Jay Thorpe dress, 1930
Marjorie Merriweather Post wearing Jay Thorpe dress, 1930
Silk crepe and organza evening dress. ca. 1933
Silk crepe and organza evening dress. ca. 1933
Silk taffeta evening dress, 1934. Graphic print inspired by the paintings of Robert Delaunay and his wife Sonia's fabric designs.
Silk taffeta evening dress, 1934. Graphic print inspired by the paintings of Robert Delaunay and his wife Sonia's fabric designs.
Exact copy of blue and gray abstract print gown, done in a different print-1934
Exact copy of blue and gray abstract print gown, done in a different print-1934
Front view of printed cotton, silk charmeuse, organza and tulle evening dress from Bergdorf Goodman, ca. 1935
Front view of printed cotton, silk charmeuse, organza and tulle evening dress from Bergdorf Goodman, ca. 1935
Rear view-evening dress of printed silk and cotton. Bergdorf Goodman, ca. 1935
Rear view-evening dress of printed silk and cotton. Bergdorf Goodman, ca. 1935
Bodice closeup of 1935 printed cotton and silk evening dress.
Bodice closeup of 1935 printed cotton and silk evening dress.
Black silk velvet dress designed to be worn for portrait. Orry Kelly ca. 1943.
Black silk velvet dress designed to be worn for portrait. Orry Kelly ca. 1943.
Silk velvet, charmeuse, crepe and metallic brocade by Thurn, 1928
Silver waffle weave silk faille gown by Anne Lowe, 1952. Anne Lowe also designed Jacqueline Kennedy's wedding dress.
Bonwit Teller Silvery satin and taffeta faille gown, 1947
Bonwit Teller Silvery satin and taffeta faille gown, 1947
Silk taffeta and lace dress custom made by Bonwit Teller circa 1955
Silk taffeta and lace dress custom made by Bonwit Teller circa 1955
Marjorie Post leaving Palm Beach Playhouse wearing her Bonwit Teller Dress-1955
Marjorie Post leaving Palm Beach Playhouse wearing her Bonwit Teller Dress-ca. 1955
Pleated organza, lace and taffeta evening dresses by Oldric Royce, 1960
Pleated organza, lace and taffeta evening dresses by Oldric Royce, 1960
Silk crepe, nylon organza, chiffon sequined mermaid gown by Oldric Royce, 1962
Silk crepe, nylon organza, chiffon sequined mermaid gown by Oldric Royce, 1962
Rear view of mermaid gown designed by Oldric Royce-1962
Rear view of mermaid gown designed by Oldric Royce-1962
Gown and coat set by Oldric Royce. Silk faille, velvet, cotton lace and sequins. 1960
Gown and coat set by Oldric Royce. Silk faille, velvet, cotton lace and sequins. 1960
Beaded raw silk and cotton lace gown by Oldric Royce, 1968. Marjorie wore to Red Cross Ball.
Beaded raw silk and cotton lace gown by Oldric Royce, 1968. Marjorie wore to Red Cross Ball in Palm Beach.

By | 2015-09-14T15:56:42+00:00 July 27th, 2015|Fashion, Memorable people|4 Comments

About the Author:

Theresa
Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.

4 Comments

  1. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell September 29, 2015 at 7:11 am

    Liza, thank you! You really should try to get over there sometime. It is quite spectacular. There is so much more to see than what I could convey in my photos.

  2. Liza D. September 28, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Marvelous post, Theresa. I had hoped to be able to get to DC to see this exhibit. Now I almost feel I’ve been there. Thanks for the tour!

  3. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell August 26, 2015 at 8:29 am

    So glad you enjoyed the post, Jill! It’s certainly my pleasure to be able to share the photos of this amazing collection with others 🙂

  4. Jill Richardson August 26, 2015 at 12:11 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this exquisite collection of clothing. What a wonderful life she lived, and how wonderfully adorned she was! I love seeing the photos and portraits of her wearing some of these dresses, too. Thank you so much!
    Jill Richardson

Comments are closed.