Whenever I look at the Macaroon pattern, I can’t help but think what a gorgeous party dress it’d make with an illusion neckline. (I have, in fact, seen a few versions lurking about on the internet!) Illusion necklines can make you think of an ice skating costume, but if you view them from a distinctly vintage perspective, there are many gorgeous examples out there that are sure to inspire the modern seamstress. If you’ve been following the Coletterie blog for some time, you may remember a post from 2010 with some mid century gowns sporting illusion necklines by designer Peggy Hunt–well worth a look if you’d like some more inspiration beyond this week’s post!
I love the gentle scallops along the shaped neckline of this 1960s cocktail dress. The edges are highlighted with beading, which adds a lovely fanciness to the dress without overwhelming the otherwise simple silhouette. The back neckline closure is particularly beautiful: small bows formed with tubing tie down to the edge of where the sheer and opaque materials meet.
Is this dress a knock-out or what? Perhaps one of the more stunning 1940s cocktail dresses I’ve seen in awhile (and certainly movie star worthy…). This is a far more complicated illusion neckline, and perhaps one that is a bit too fussy for modern applications, but still is inspiring nonetheless. Note how there are opaque bust-cups underneath the lace (which is underneath the sheer neckline material)–a clever way to keep covered, while the lace takes away from the obvious concealment method.
This demure 1950s dress doesn’t feature a front neckline illusion like the previous two, but the back neckline is treated in much the same way. It’s a bit more coverage for the gal who doesn’t want to show too much in the front, but is a little bit of a wink from the back. I love the subtle angle of the back neckline and the way the black sheer is layered over a rich bronze material for an antiqued finish.