One of the most famous flappers ever was Nancy Allen. As she was a teenager, she wrote a book, “Romeo and Juliet and other little fashions,” in which she described the story of her famous costume.
Allen never revealed how she managed to style the dresses. It’s not surprising that her father and some of her brothers and sisters were friends with the American financier Henry Hudson, who founded the stock exchange in 1919 in New York City.
Allen’s father worked with Hudson, and her brother, Paul, served as a deputy assistant U.S. attorney general and was Hudson’s secretary to the treasurer. She was also a personal secretary for her husband’s attorney, Edwin Parker, and he gave her some of his most expensive dresses, some of which she later wore.
Allen and Hudson’s relationship came to an end after a series of events that occurred, including a visit to the home of a woman who was Hudson’s niece. Hudson and his brother-in-law threatened to have Nancy Allen’s father tried on a treason charge if she told anyone what had happened—an action that led the police to search her home and arrest her. She was charged with treason.
Allen managed to survive the trial, and she was arrested after her arrest: Hudson tried to extradite her, but she was in hiding. She was convicted of treason and sentenced to six years in prison. She was released in 1926 and moved with her husband to Australia, where she lived out her days.
Allen designed the gown she wore to court. She said she was asked to make one that would be comfortable for both women and men, but she wanted to “try something new.”
The gown she made featured long sleeves, a scoop neckline and a v-shaped back with a small lace cut-out for the face. She also added little straps to carry the skirt in a “stocking” effect.
How did it arrive in the hands of the flappers?
The dress came into Allen’s hands from the American financier Henry Hudson at a party at his home in New York on February 28, 1926, according to a newspaper report. Allen and some other women had been invited to the party by Christie’s, which held the auction of the auction house’s most valuable collection, including works by Vincent Van Gogh in the 1890s and William Shakespeare in the 1920s.
The dress was given to the three women
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