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Janice Wainwright Floral Pattern Silk Devoré Velvet Cocoon Jacket Top, 1970s
British born Janice Wainwright was known for designing with an eye towards England’s rich history of flowing garments and floral patterns. A 1981 New York Times article notes Wainwright’s presence in bringing back the romance of English fashion; a movement attributed to a soon-to-be wed Lady Diana Spencer. This elegant cocoon jacket takes a page from the early 20th century, styling a lush silk devoré into a Japanese-inspired garment.
Devoré, a semi-transparent fabric with opaque pattern areas, is often left unlined, partially revealing either skin or a base garment beneath. Semi-transparent fabrics always require an extra level of finish. Typically, garments are constructed with seam edges on the inside, but Wainwright’s jacket sews the seams with the edges to the outside. The edges are then perfectly bound in satin, allowing the inside of the jacket to feel comfortable and smooth.
The satin binding forms an elegant outline along the top of the selves, splitting gracefully open on top of the wrists. The beautiful sweep of sleeves extends down beyond the smooth panels at the front opening. As is so aptly described in a 1979 New York Times, Wainwright’s designs are “Gossamer cocoon-shaped wraps in fantastic embroidered and brocaded fabric…draped and pouffed in the manner of Paul Poiret.”
Size Estimate: no defined seams, will fit a range of sizes
Length: 28 inches in the back, 24-27 inches front
This late 1970s cocoon jacket by Janice Wainwright is in excellent condition. Referencing the Asian-inspired cocoon coats of the 1920s, the silk devoré she uses has a velvet floral pattern with touches of metallic thread on a silk chiffon background. Dolman sleeves are the jacket’s true highlight, falling loosely from the wrist and meeting elegantly beneath the hip level hem.
The center front sits open with no closures. The garment is unlined. Professionally cleaned and pressed. 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.