Gunne Sax

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A Gunne Sax dress.

Gunne Sax is a retired clothing label owned by Jessica McClintock, Inc, which specialized in formal and semi-formal wear for young women. [1] It was founded as a San Francisco retail store in 1967 [2] by Elanor Bailey and Carol Miller. Gunne Sax founders partnered with McClintock in 1969 for a $5,000 investment.[3][4]

The name "Gunne Sax" was associated with McClintock's 1970s prairie, Victorian, and Edwardian-styled designs which drew on many elements popular in late-19th and early-20th-century American fashion such as lace, gingham, and calico. The enterprise was named after the "gunny sack" or burlap trim used on some of the earlier dresses.

Gunne Sax had a children/young girls' line referred to as Jeunes Filles. Gunne Sax also manufactured renaissance- and medieval-inspired designs, with empire waistlines and middle plackets, and used other historical costume elements such as corset-like laced bodices and puffed sleeves that tightened below the elbow, a style popular throughout the 1970s and 1980s known as "leg o'mutton." Collectors consider clothing with the original "black label," used only in 1969, the most valuable. A "hearts label" was used for a short time following, until the 1970s and early 1980s larger label with scrollwork was put into use.

From the 1980s and beyond, Gunne Sax dresses tended to follow modern prom dress sensibilities, such as tight, strapless bodices and full skirts, favoring fabrics like satin, taffeta, and tulle. In 1999 taffeta was the number one seller paired with matte satin or brocade corsets, with an addition of skirts made in tulle or dotted swiss.[5]


  1. ^ Callender, Cat (March 3, 2005). "Fashion and Style: Pretty as a pioneer ; In the nineteen seventies, Gunne Sax was America's answer to Laura Ashley. Now her proud-to-be-folksy style is back". The Independent.
  2. ^ "Eleanor Bailey | The Vintage Traveler". Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  3. ^ Anne., Stegemeyer,. Who's who in fashion. Alford, Holly Price. (Sixth ed.). New York. ISBN 1609019695. OCLC 852225187.
  4. ^ "Design empire began with Gunne Sax". SFGate. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  5. ^ Leeming, Virgina (April 6, 1999). "Cinderella season: This year's grads play princess for a day, as they choose romantic dresses of taffeta or tulle with fitted tops and full skirts in soft pastel colours". The Vancouver Sun.

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