Gunne Sax

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A Gunne Sax dress.

Gunne Sax was a clothing label which specialized in formal and semi-formal wear for young women owned by Jessica McClintock, Inc. It was founded in San Francisco in the 1960s and bought by McClintock in 1969.

The name "Gunne Sax" is often associated with its 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 company was named after the "gunny sack" or burlap trim used on some of the earlier dresses.

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 tend to follow modern prom dress sensibilities, such as tight, strapless bodices and full skirts, favoring fabrics like satin, taffeta, and tulle.

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