Dress, 1924


The dress was designed by Callot Soeurs. Callot Soeurs was one of the leading fashion houses in Paris during the 1920s. They catered to an exclusive clientele from across Europe and the United States. The house opened in 1895 at 24, rue Taitbout in Paris, France and was operated by the four Callot sisters: Marie Callot Gerber, Marthe Callot Bertrand, Regina Callot Tennyson-Chantrell and Joséphine Callot Crimont. They were known for their exotic and lavish detail; feminine, delicate fabrics and stylings; and exquisite handwork and attention to detail.Callot Soeurs were among the first designers to use gold and silver lame, fabrics which became very popular in the 1920s.Owned by Virginia Palmer Bradfield Ward, this is a dazzling dress that would have sparkled and swayed as she moved. The shape is typical of the earlier 1920s, as it is a bit larger and less sleek than pieces from the later part of the decade. Virginia Palmer Bradfield Ward was born 1897 in Grand Rapids, MI. She was born in to one of Michigan's oldest mining families.Her great grandfather, Charles Henry Palmer, was a pioneer investor and developer of mines and railroads in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Her grandfather, Charles Henry Palmer, Jr. continued to run his father's businesses and expanded them, with mines in Montana, Colorado, and Mexico. Her mother, Elizabeth Virginia Palmer Bradfield, continued to look after her family's estate as well as becoming an accomplished sculptress. Her father was Thomas Parks Bradfield, a graduate of University of Michigan and a lawyer. In 1918, Virginia married Harold Lee Ward of Pontiac, MI. Mr. Ward was the grandson of David Ward, one of Michigan's first lumber barons. After some time in California where Harold was stationed as a flying cadet with the Army Signal Corps Aviation Section, the two returned to live in Pontiac and had three daughters, Virginia Palmer Ward Golding, Elizabeth Palmer Ward DeVine and Ann Ward Spaeth.

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