Scarlett O’Hara, roll over. A beautiful Jessica McClintock Gunne Sax original from the 1970s fell into our hands here at Patricia’s Room. It still bears the original label and was probably only worn once. This petite size 5 gown features a cinched bodice, crinoline underskirt and yards of red dotted Swiss.
But just who is Jessica McClintock? After researching her background, I came to the conclusion that she was worth blogging about because she is an icon for 70s fashions as well as a Cinderella Story and the American Dream if ever there was one.
McClintock, whose real name is Jessica Gagnon, was born in Maine in the early Depression. Eventually, she attended Boston University and later San Jose State University in California. She originally pursued a career in teaching, but ultimately left the profession to pursue a career in the design field after her first husband, Al Staples, died.
In 1969 though Ms. McClintock had no formal training in fashion design, she became a partner and designer for the Gunne Sax Company in San Francisco. In 1986 the company was renamed Jessica McClintock.
“At the height of the hippie movement … McClintock design[ed] long, calico, lace-trimmed dresses, very popular with the young. Besides “granny” dresses, she also designed lace-trimmed denim clothes and combined lace with linen. By the 1970s, she had added prom dresses and wedding gowns, continuing to use lavish lace trim, which had become her trademark” (Baker; updated by Benet Answers.com).
I strongly suspect the lovely red dress featured in this blog was created for a prom or a similar formal event. Still, I can’t help but see a young debutante sitting outside a veranda, sipping her lemonade with her suitors nearby, eager to win her heart and hand.
Here’s to Jessica McClintock because she rocks!
Update: This beautiful gown is now going to Leonora of W. Trenton, New Jersey. Have fun being the belle of the ball, Leonora!