Irving Penn's Photograph in Vogue May 1, 1947 of the 12 most Photographed Models, including Lily Carlson. I believe we have found the Vintage Gown she was wearing in the photo!

Irving Penn Photograph "12 Beauties" Vogue Magazine May 1947

I have an update on the 12 Beauties, Photograph by Irving Penn Vogue May 1947 Gown worn by Lily Carlson.

Looking at the Vogue Magazine Centerfold of the 12 beauties, there is a reference to another page and there it lists all the models and the dresses. 

Lily Carlson is wearing a gown by Ceil Chapman.  I wished the label didn't fall off but there is no other gown that I can find that looks exactly like the one in the picture of Lily Carlson.

There is another page where a debutante is wearing the same dress by Ceil Chapman but with a cape in the same organdy material. 

See below:


Publication: Vogue
Image Type: Photograph
Date: May 1st, 1947
Description: Miss Sheila Ross, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gustave Ross, wearing a white debutante dress with an organdy frilled cape and full skirt ending at the ankles by Ceil Chapman.


Original Post on: 2/12/2014

A few days ago, I had my friend over to look at all of my vintage finds and shop in my studio. Well, we had a blast and he found a few men's items for himself too.  You see, my friend Richie, is one of the people I would shop with as a teen.  We would go to vintage stores and thrift shops around our neighborhood along the Hudson River in New Jersey and in New York City too.    

After he left, the next day he sent me this photo by Irving Penn and said he thought the dress he admired in my studio could very well be the dress in this photo.   

Photographed by Irving Penn

Vogue, May 1, 1947 - Irving Penn's famous tableaux, which is almost always preferred to as "The Twelve Beauties."   The Model in the Center is Lily Carlson, appears to be wearing a "New Look"  ruched white gown.  At this photo session, Irving Penn first fell in love with Lisa Fonssagrives, sixth from left.  They were married in 1950 and remained married until her death until 1992.  Irving Penn was born in Plainfield, NJ.   Ok, I had to mention that he was Jersey born because I am too. Sources: Wikipedia &

It sure looks like it to me.  Maybe you can decide and comment.   Here is a comparison:

Photo to the right is a crop shot of Irving Penn's Photo for Vogue

I could not locate a designer's label, but it does look strikingly familiar. The dress has a metal zipper on the side, which tells me it is 1940s and I believe you can see that on her left side.  Just like mine. 

Here are some more photos of my gown.

1940s Ruched gown 

Metal zipper on Left side - built in bone corset


with built in crinoline

Once I can find out more information regarding this gorgeous gown and have it restored properly, it will be up for sale in my online shop Vintage 201 on,   Thank you for Reading!   Have a Fab Day ~ Gina! 


Also, in Fashion History, on  this same day as today, February 12, in 1947, a new couturier named Christian Dior presented his first show in Paris.  A model strolled out in a black wool skirt cut at the calf that was made with 20 yards of material, which was nipped at the waist and flared into a beautiful peplum.  A shantung jacket in cream, this ensemble had a name, Bar.  This was also a postwar world still under rationing, so the Bar was over top and shocking.  But, the look had caught on!  The women loved the ultra feminine styles that were a wonderful reminder of brighter days of luxury.    Harper's Bazaar editor Carmel Snow remarks, "t's quite a revolution, dear Christian.  Your dresses have such a new look.  It wasn't too long before the world press picks up on the styles and words "New Look."   Sources: & 

    Christian Dior's "New Look' was born!   

Own a Piece of Fashion History

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