Historical information

This dress was worn in a pre-racing season fashion parade held in October 1974 by Pearl's Boutique, a well-known fashion boutique that operated in Brighton from 1965 until 2005. Paula Folks, the store's manager at the time, recalled that this parade had been loosely red, white and blue themed in honour of Princess Anne's wedding to Mark Phillips, which took place on 14 November of that year. The parade was likely held at Tudor Court in Caulfield, a popular reception venue.

Pearl's Boutique was established by Elsebe Wilhelmine Wills and Pearl Murray in 1965. The two friends had grown up together in Horsham, and decided to go into business together after reading in Fashionweek that women in their thirties, forties, fifties and older had trouble finding young-looking styles. Setting out to fill this gap in the market, they established a store at 240 St Kilda Street, near the Brighton Yacht Club, with Elsebe handled the buying while Pearl fronted the shop. They moved to 40 Church Street, Brighton in 1967.

Paula Folks joined the business as a manager in 1968, became a partner in 1971 and took over from the original owners in 1988. When she closed the boutique in 2005, she donated a number of garments to Brighton Historical Society. Reflecting fondly on her 38 years at Pearls, she told The Age, "I have enjoyed all my days here because people are special to me. I love fashion. It's been a pleasure to dress people, to make them look good and feel pleased with themselves."

Physical description

Full-length blue jersey evening dress with round neckline and long sleeves. Cuffs edged with blue-grey ostrich feathers. Zip at back.

Inscriptions & markings

Label: "Van Roth / REGD".
Labels on side of inner zip: "100% POLYESTER" / SIZE 14 / TO FIT / BUST 90cm / WAIST 70cm / HIP 95cm".