If you are a vintage collector or spend any active time searching for vintage, you're familiar with Catherine Ogust, Penthouse Gallery and the Forever Dress, whether you realize it or not.
What makes this designer, this label and these dresses extra curious is that there is very little historical information about their origins.
My first contact with this design was finding what is considered Color No. 36 (although it's really more like color number 3!) when asked about making a custom caftan as a gift before I had officially launched.
As soon as I laid eyes on the fabric, I knew I had a winner! But what I didn't know is what was to come. 3 more fabrics, a few vintage dresses and a trip down a worm hole!
To date, the best source of info (and really, only) is this post from Couture Allure, from 2011.
The author notes:
As early as 1965, Penthouse Gallery offered the "Burma Shirt" which was sold as a nightgown or a beach topper. It had all the hallmarks of the Ogust dresses: mandarin collar, knot buttons, and sleeves that could be worn cuffed or not. It was shorter than the dresses to come, though, and was only available in solid colors. By 1975, artist Catherine Ogust was designing prints for Penthouse Gallery. Here, the "Burma" is being sold as an "at home" lounging dress or pool cover-up.
It wasn't until 1985, though, that Penthouse Gallery changed the name of the style to "The Forever Dress", a name that appropriately describes a dress that can be worn forever, and a classic style that the company had been making for at least 20 years.
Crazy to think something as iconic as The Forever Dress remains enshrouded in mystery!
In my years of digging, I came across an additional 3 fabrics, giving me 4 total vintage fabrics, all from the same designer. Insane!
That first caftan has been re-worked it a bit, again, for a custom-order. I found myself calling it the "Poolside" caftan and when trying to come up with a name, was reminded of the Slim Aaron's book "Poolside with Slim Aarons" and immediately knew, "Slim!"
I'd be remiss not to include House of Lu's version of the Forever Dress, Iris, featured here in Color No. 37.
If you haven't made the deep dive, google "Catherine Ogust" and you'll be amazed to see all of the prints! The parallel between Iris and the Forever Dress and the variety of prints and patterns offered is too obvious to ignore, which makes it all the more special.
Iris will be available on this site starting at 9am EST, Saturday April 30!
Questions? Feel free to hit up that contact page!