Jennie’s Court Dress

Jennie Blair, Daisy (Kelley) MacCallum’s San Francisco socialite cousin, wore this elaborate gown when she was presented to the Court of Saint James in England.

The gown features ivory silk with lace, fine embroidery, and ribbon-work wrought into flowers, baskets, and scrolls. The slashed appearance of the fabric is an unfortunate byproduct of the practice of soaking silk fabric in mineral salts to increase its heft and stiffness. Over time the crystals work their way through the fabric creating the unintended “shattered” condition.

This special gown was designed by JEANNE HALLÉE (1880-1914), a French dressmaker who died young at the top of her career.

Regarded as one of the most important designers of her day, examples of her work are extremely rare, with the largest collection held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

This dress is now on display at the Kelley House Museum. Museum hours: Thursday through Sunday, 11 am to 3 pm. The Museum is located at 45007 Albion Street in Mendocino.