The torso gown was enjoying a huge revival in the 1950s mid-century America. Mae West knew the value and effect of a good torso gown in the 1930s. Appearing again in the 1940s, there were several interpretations by Elsa Schiaparelli. With a number of designs In the 1950s, Dior also liked the torso, or by now, also called a mermaid gown.
The master of the concept and design of the torso gown was American designer Charles James who at this point in time was taking couture fashion internationally to new levels, and was working in London, Paris and New York to develop his name and his brand. Dior credited James as a major influence over his own design. The ultimate designers-designer, James must have caught the attention of Madame Alexander as she selected and edited for Cissy some of the major design trends of the era... one of the reasons Cissy is so valued today.
Alexander would introduce Cissy in three variations of the Torso Gown: the must stunning and elaborate is the No. 2100 of 1955, a very dramatic black velvet and tulle No. 2043 in 1956 and finally, in 1957 No. 2174 of purple velvet with layers of lilac tulle. These designs all featured a beautiful décolletage design that elegantly frames Cissy's face and the gowns tight fit certainly accents her curves. All these gowns have a feature rarely used by Alexander - a zippered back.