Vera Worth was a good looking shop girl from Bristol, who followed fashion with a passion. In the 1930s, after marrying John, she scrimped and saved to buy a glamorous gown fit for a film star, and wore it to an important company dinner dance. The knockout dress and its jacket were designed by flamboyant designer to the stars, Elsa Schiaparelli. Photographs of Vera in the dress (available on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @behindthemuseum) show her looking fabulous, beaming; onlookers are smiling with pleasure and in amazement.
After passing her precious garment to her granddaughter, Amanda, who showed it a good time, the ensemble was put up for auction. Vera's Schiaparelli sold at Kerry Taylor’s auction house at the end of 2018. It was bought by the philanthropist Krystyna Campbell-Pretty for the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne where it is now on show, delighting audiences for decades to come.
Tiffany goes behind the scenes to discover the story of Vera Worth, and her Schiaparelli dress and jacket; the backstory of a museum object on a pedestal. She visits Kerry Taylor auctions, Vera's granddaughter, Amanda Ellis, and speaks via Skype to Katie Somerville, Senior Curator, Fashion and Textiles, at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Visit us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @behindthemuseum to see pictures of Vera and her Schiaparelli dress.