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Nanty Frocks, Inc. was a manufacturer of high–priced dresses and dance frocks as well as authorized copies of French and British couture gowns. They reproduced copies and adaptations of gowns and dresses by Christian Dior, Norman Hartnell, Jean Desses, Lanvin-Castillo and others. According to one source: “Charles William Rendigs, head of Nanty Frocks …specialized in producing copies of ball gowns and cocktail dresses designed by French couturiers, apparently Christian Dior used to call Charles Rendigs ‘the best copyist in America’.” Rendigs seems to have become head of Nanty in the later 1920s or early 1930s and was still head in 1951.
Nanty Frocks, Inc. at 491 7th Ave. NY, is mentioned in a Jan, 1909 in trade journals with additional mentions in 1931 and 1940. In the 1930s , their dresses retailed for $150 – $550.
By 1945, references in ads and some labels use Nanty Originals as well as Nanty Frocks. One price example for 1948 was $170. In 1948, Nanty was at 37 West 47 St and in that summer announced that they were reproducing a gown by London designer to the Queen, Noman Hartnell, which was also purchased by from the regular Hartnell collection by Princess Margaret Rose.
Nanty Frocks was still producing as of 1955.
Written by Hollis Jenkins-Evans
Courtesy of antiquedress.com
Courtesy of Hollis Jenkins-Evans
from a 1950s dress
from a 1953-54 adaptation of a Dior 'Palmyre' Gown