Sequins from Weimar

Weimar Republic cabaret, Herr Kettners, 1920s black lace flapper dress, burlesque

Our step back to the Weimar Republic at Herr Kettner’s was most enjoyable.

The dress code stated 1920s Berlin, moustachioed dandies, dizzy flappers, monocled counts, decadent aesthetes, firebrand radicals, apoplectic Teutonic military officers, predatory cross-dressers, itinerant jazz musicians, black or white tie”.

So of course, a little research was required, as seen below – courtesy of Marlene Dietrich, Henry and June, Cabaret and some decadent 1920’s fashion illustrations. Oh and the rather mischievous Clara Bow:

Marlene Dietrich top hat, Uma Thurman, Henry and June, Cabaret illustration, Joan Crawford, 1920s fashion illustration

1920s beaded dress, Adrian

Top illustration by me
Marlene Dietrich in Blue Angel, Stills taken from Henry and June, Fashion Illustration Atelier Bachwitz 1922, Marti 1924 – taken from Art Deco Fashion, Joan Crawford and company in Our Dancing Daughters
Constance Talmadge in His Sister from Paris 1925, from “Adrian“.
Clara Bow in My Lady of Whims 1926, taken from “Dressed‘.

Clara Bow, lace flapper dress, burlesque, My Lady of Whims

The reason for the sequins? I shall explain….

I mentioned in Skinny Rich Fairies that I was restoring this 1920’s flapper dress. And oh what a job it was. Half the beaded design was missing, the shoulders were about to disintegrate and there were holes galore.

Fortunately the sequinned design at the bottom still had half the pattern showing, with a threaded guide, so I easily managed to fill in the pattern on one side.

Flapper dress restoration

The other side was a little more tricky, as it was missing the thread guide, so taking a white pen I tried to recreate the pattern freehand.

Flapper dress restoration

And then the trouble started, in the form of a rather large bundle of fluff.

Buffy wasn’t having any of it. (BTW, he’s not named after the Vampire Slayer, he was buff coloured when he was born – like all of us his colouring has slightly matured!)

This dress was getting in the way of some very important “him” time, which involved plonking himself on my lap, trying to eat the thread and eventually upsetting the tin of sequins – all of which began to disappear through the floor-boards. If he could of smiled, he would of done. Job done!

cat and the flapper dress

Which is why I thought there should be a common theme running through the pictures – sequins – or lack of them!

Anyway back to the important details. The dress was as finished as possible and teamed with a black slip, white fur stole and beaded bag – looked mighty authentic.

Makeup and hair inspiration came in the form of Carole Lombard – smoky eyes, rounded eyebrows, dark lips and as many pin curls as I could manage.

Carole Lombard and the cat

Carole Lombard, flapper

And what is a night without a few wardrobe malfunctions? Before I even got to the venue, I travelled to my friend’s house with a big army coat over the top, as the slip showed the top of my hold-ups and I didn’t want to frighten the locals.

“Hold ups” they weren’t! By the time I got off the train, one was escaping down my ankle and it wasn’t the kind of place where I could discreetly hitch my dress. So it was no surprise that a woman clasped her child to her side as I passed. Lord only knows what she thought I was up to!

Thankfully my partner in crime, Amanda, lent me one of her suspender belts…….and here was the finished result.

Carolyn Everitt, flapper dress, Herr Kettners

My fellow “Pushettes”.

The Pushettes at Herr Kettner's

Can you believe the dress didn’t quite make it to the end, after all that effort?

I’m happy to say the sequins are still in place and can be added to at any time. But the shoulders are…….pretty scarce and hanging on by threads. I suppose the more beads I put on, the heavier it became and because of it’s age, just couldn’t take the pace. (If anyone has any suggestions as to how to reinforce the shoulders, I would be most grateful).

Not to be defeated I will attempt another resurrection, I just might need to get the big guns in, in the form of my ma!

The entertainment deserves another post, and a little investigation into “what is burlesque?”

I think some further field trips will also be required and some more cocktails consumed, all in the name of research, you understand.

Bye for now Cxx


  1. Anjou

    The dress was lovely nonetheless! Those vintage mesh/lace/beaded dresses certainly are pills – I (attempted) to restore a silk beaded blouse from the 30s and after I finished re-beading the entire neckline, I wore it to a party and it ripped halfway up beside the seam. That’s when I hung it on my wall as decoration and called it a day, haha. Your beadwork is beautiful! (And love the inspiration/hair)!

    ❤ Anjou

  2. That’s gutting when you work so hard on a special outfit and it all goes wrong! You looked fab though and I bet no one else noticed any wardrobe malfunction!

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