Satin gown worn by Marian Anderson and Denyce Graves

Object Details

Designed by
Barbara Karinska, Ukrainian, 1886 - 1983
Worn by
Marian Anderson, American, 1897 - 1993
Denyce Graves, American, born 1964
mid 20th century; altered 2009
silk satin, silk faille, cotton, synthetic fiber, synthetic and metallic lace, and metal fasteners
H x W: 69 x 31 in. (175.3 x 78.7 cm)
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Denyce Graves
This pale bronze gown was designed by Barbara Karinska and worn by Marian Anderson, then later altered and worn by Denyce Graves. The gown is made from slubbed silk satin and has a fitted sleeveless bodice with a natural waistline and a full skirt with a slight train. Portions of a cream and metallic gold floral lace are cut and sewn to the bodice around the scoop neckline, along the shoulder straps, and around the waist side seams. The gown closes at the center back with a metal zipper that extends below the waist and one (1) metal hook-and-eye at the top of the zipper.
The bodice of the dress is lined with an undyed cotton. The interior neckline and shoulder straps are lined with a light brown synthetic fabric, likely an alteration for Graves. The skirt is fully lined in a cream silk faille. A cream fabric label with black woven and handwritten text is sewn at the interior center front waist that reads "KARINSKA / 112 WEST 44TH ST. NEW YORK / Name_______ / Act [handwritten] ANDERSON / Scene_________".
Object number
African American
Clothing and dress
Costume design
Opera (Music)
Singers (Musicians)
See more items in
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Data Source
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions
Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
Record ID
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