1970s Gunne Sax dresses
Gunne Sax’s aesthetic has been described as feminine, nostalgic, Victorian, old world and romantic. Though the brand is now closely associated with formal and bridal wear, its origins date back to late ’60s San Francisco. In 1969, San Francisco boutique Gunne Sax needed a house designer. Enter Jessica McClintock, an elementary school teacher with a life-long interest in fashion. When a friend told McClintock of the opening at Gunne Sax, she applied immediately. In a testament to the freewheeling spirit of 1960s San Francisco, McClintock was hired despite her lack of formal training in fashion design or clothing manufacture. In the beginning, McClintock designed small collections of about 20 garments. Within a few months the San Francisco department store I. Magnin started retailing Gunne Sax dresses. The mood of Gunne Sax was based on McClintock’s personal vision: “I brought to [Gunne Sax] my own concept of clothing based on romance–nostalgia created by a mixture of prints, ribbons, laces, muslins and braids. It was 1969, the “mini” era was ending, and the Gunne Sax “Country,” “Edwardian,” and “Prairie” era was beginning.”
The name Gunne Sax was derived from the burlap or ‘gunny sack’ trim used on many of the earlier dresses.