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Floral Silk Metallic Lamé and Pink Velvet Fur Collar Flapper Coat Cape, 1920s
We often think of decades as succinct moments in fashion history. However, there is more complexity to the fashionable styles of the 1920s than a term like “flapper” may imply. This lush cape is a brilliant example of an elegant outerwear style that had its origins in the teens, but reached its zenith during the 1920s. Named for its body-enveloping nature, the “cocoon” coat or cape was often constructed from lavish materials with hints of South and East Asian influence. This rich version is made from a brocaded silk lamé featuring gold foliage that falls down lightly over a field of screen-printed flowers.
A genuine fur collar rises up high on the neck before relaxing down around the front opening. The center front openings of cocoon coats were typically designed with no fastening mechanism. This not only provided glimpses of the garment beneath, but also revealed the beauty of the interior fabric. The raspberry colored velvet lining, which is turned to the front at the base of the fur collar, coordinates beautifully with the color palette of the floral pattern.
The cape falls to mid-calf length, with its fullness hand smocked in around the shoulders. The unusual nature of this piece is furthered by an integrated scarf and hand muff tethered at the center back. While this can be wrapped up around the neck or used as a functional muff, it can also hang and swing at the back. The elegance of this historic piece is easy and self-possessed with no attempt to be cloying or fussy. It is very much about living in the moment.
Size estimate: One size fits most
Length: 48 inches
This 1920s era opera cape is in excellent condition. Made from silk lamé with floral overprint, the cape has a tall fur collar that eases down around the shoulders and integrates with center front opening. The center front falls open to reveal a raspberry colored velvet lining, which echoes the raspberry pink of the floral pattern. The fullness of the cape is controlled with hand smocking around the shoulders.
An integrated scarf and hand muff is tethered at the center back, which can be wrapped up around the neck, used as a functional muff, or left to hang at the back. High-quality vintage pieces like this are yours to live in and love while increasing in value every year. It’s never too soon to start collecting them, as an investment in your wardrobe—and in yourself.