1930s Floral Cotton Polynesian Style Dress

This is one of the most interesting and unusual antique dresses we have ever had at Circa and of extraordinary construction. It is modelled on an earlier 18th century Polynesian style dress and is made from a very fine cotton in a sweet floral design of pinks and blues representing the flowers of the French nobility. It has a high sweetheart neckline and a princess seamed bodice with an inverted waistband following the lines of what would have been a traditional corset. The sleeve is an elaborate and shortened version of a leg of mutton style whilst the skirt element is a lavish affair of folded and pinned fabric leading to an arrangement of fabric swags on the lower third of the dress. The bottom rear portion is attached to the inverted waistband. The hemline of the dress is asymmetric as a result of the swags.

Unlabelled but made by a professional hand, whoever made it had a fabulous appreciation of historical costume and it's quite possible this dress was made for a Hollywood film - it was purchased in LA. The fabric may be much earlier than when the dress was made - we believe in the 1930s. The zip at the back has been added either at the point the dress was made, or a bit later. We have completely restored and cleaned this dress taking great care to address any cotton breaks and she is now in superb condition with no flaws of any note. She will fit size UK 6-8 or US 2 and could be worn as a statement dress for an event or displayed.

Design Notes: The robe à la polonaise or polonaise became fashionable during the 1770s and had some or all of the following design elements; a cutaway or layer dress; a draped and swagged overskirt which was worn over an underskirt or petticoat and usually there were several layers of each.

BUST - 32 in. (81.3 cm)
WAIST - 27 in. (68.6 cm)
HIP - 54 in. (137.2 cm)
MIN. LENGTH - 41 in. (104.1 cm) MAX. LENGTH - 53 in. (134.6 cm)
SHOULDERS - 16 in. (40.6 cm)

Pickup available at CIRCA VINTAGE

Usually ready in 24 hours


Will you set anything aside for me before I come?

We are happy to find anything you may be interested in from our website - please let us know a week in advance. 

We also have an extensive offline collection. If you let us know your size, style, favourite colour to wear and perhaps your budget, we can browse through our archive in advance of your appointment. 

Do I need to bring anything with me?

Clients may wish to bring modern shapewear when trying on garments from certain eras, especially the 1950s. Vintage clothing was often worn with undergarments that shaped the waist and as such is tailored for them.

We have a huge variety of slip dresses and petticoats to complete your look; many of which are also for sale.

You may also wish to bring your favourite footwear. We often find a classic pair of nude shoes work well when trying on, or a pair in gold or silver.

Do you have a price range?

Many of our lower-priced pieces (under £150) are not available to buy online. Our prices range from £80 - £600 for separates. Dresses start at around £150 and go up to £2,500 for the very best antique pieces and designer vintage. Our bridalwear ranges from £300 - £3,000.

Can I bring anyone with me?

Yes but please do let us know the size of your party in advance.

Where can I get alterations?

We offer some alterations in house. Should you need alterations we cannot provide, we can refer you to one of our tried and trusted tailors.

Do you have an after-care service?

We will advise you on the best way to clean and preserve your vintage pieces and can also recommend trusted local dry cleaners.

Can I cancel my appointment?

You are free to cancel but please do give us as much notice as possible. If you cancel less than 24 hours before your appointment, you will be invoiced a late cancellation fee of £25.

Where's the showroom?

Our address is Circa Vintage, 87A Lansdowne Way London SW8 2PB

Upon arrival, buzz the 87A button on the gate or call us 020 7736 5038 to let you in.

Do you have parking?

We offer free, secure, off-street parking but it is a tight squeeze – so do let us know in advance if you will be needing this and we can make sure that there is space available.

How do I get there by public transport?


Stockwell (7 min walk) - Northern and Victoria Lines

Nine Elms (9 min walk) – Northern Line


Wandsworth Road (13 min walk) – Westbound to Clapham Junction / Eastbound to Dalston Junction

What payment methods do you accept?

Cash, credit/debit card, bank transfer, contactless, Paypal