Black and White Beaded Chemise Dress From the Wardrobe of Theda Bara
Of black georgette with integral silk slip, with low V front and back, the bodice top and skirt covered with tiers of long silver bead fringe, looped on bodice and swinging free on skirt, the torso solidly beaded with white pearlescent and black beads in a dramatic burst pattern centered with elliptical shape worked in rhinestones and square paillettes with a bead tassel dangling from middle, the dress similarly, but not identically, beaded on back, interior tape label: Bara.
The dress belonged to the great silent film star Theda Bara (1889-1955). Bara created the character of the Vamp, the wickedest of women, in her starring role in the movie A Fool There Was, of 1915 and became an instant star. From 1915 to 1919, she starred in scores of films, most box office smashes, including notably Cleopatra in 1917 and Salome in 1918. Her heyday ended in 1919, but she continued to make films into the 1920s, her last Madame Mystery, in 1926, the approximate date of this dress.