Woman's Hostess Dress, Malcolm Starr

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Clothing and Dress


Woman's Hostess Dress, Malcolm Starr


ca. 1970


This dress features a full-length skirt, bishop sleeves, and a V-shaped neckline. A hook and eye in the front allows the wearer to create a more modest closure if desired. The printed fabrics are a momie weave, a crepe-like fabric made from tightly sput wool. Also sometimes known as granite weave, the fabric has a pebbly quality visible of the surface.

The dress is pieced together with several coordinated printed fabrics. The neckline trim, cuffs, waistband, and the print following the princess style lines are made of one design. The sleeves and skirt are made of a matching floral print. The bodice is a third, similar but unique print. The dress is fully lined with a blue satin fabric of undetermined fiber. This dress features definitive art nouveau influences in the printing of the fabric, typical of the bohemian style dresses in the 1970s. It features a color palette that evokes the contrast of complementary colors without being too shocking to the eyes. 

The donor of this dress, Dorothy Small, gave a number of other designer clothes to the Historic Textile & Costume Collection, including Pucci garments which she seems to have worn often. This dress, even with the Malcolm Starr label, is ready to wear, designed with an upper-middle or upper-class woman in mind to be worn at a casual dinner or cocktail party.

Malcolm Starr (1924-2008) was an American ready to wear designer from the late 1960s until 1976. The company was originally opened in the 1940s by his father. Upon hs death in 1969 Malcolm took over running the business. The brand was best known for its daywear dress and jacket sets as well as beaded and sequined shift dresses. Starr was one of the first companies to lease manufacturing facilities in Hong Kong, China and Japan for decorating garments with beading, embroidery and applique work.

The designer, Youssef Rizkallah, worked at Malcolm Starr from 1969-1975. Rizkallah was an Egyptian designer known for his use of jewel tones. Prior to joining the brand, his clients included the Queen of Jordan and the wives of Middle Eastern diplomats. He left the Malcolm Starr label in 1975 to launch his own women’s wear line.

A second designer identified with the Malcolm Starr brand was Elinor Simmons. She arrived to design at Malcolm Starr early in the 1960s, apparently leaving in 1972. Both designers had their name connected to Malcolm Starr on clothing labels. An internet search has uncovered little about either of these designers. However, the Fashion Institute of Technology Library's special Collections contains a "formidable collection" of working and finished sketches by Rizkallah.


Admin. (2010, July 18). Starr, Malcolm. Retrieved April, 2021,from https://vintagefashionguild.org/ label-resource/starr-malcolm/

Art nouveau And 1960s: A Psychedelic Dream. (2016, October 06). Retrieved April, 2021, from

BombshellVintagePDX. (n.d.). Vintage Malcolm STARR International dress / 1970s rizkallah.
Retrieved April, 2021, from https://www.etsy.com/listing/551803927/vintage-malcolm-starr-international

Calahan, A., & On, P. (2019, April 22). Egyptian elegance: YOUSSEF RIZKALLAH. Retrieved April, 2021, from https://blog.fitnyc.edu/materialmode /2018/10/18/egyptian-elegance-youssef-rizkallah/

Cotto, W. (2008, March 21). Manufacturer Malcolm starr. Retrieved April, 2021, from

Dresses for women - boho, cute and casual dresses. (n.d.). Retrieved April, 2021, from

Dresses for women: Unique dresses online. (n.d.). Retrieved April, 2021, from


Donor: Dorothy Small


URI 1995.07.02


Eli Bejin


Malcolm Starr International
Designed by Rizkallah
"Made in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong"


Malcolm Starr International Designed by Rizkallah "Made in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong", “Woman's Hostess Dress, Malcolm Starr,” Historic Textile and Costume Collection, accessed February 5, 2023, https://uritextilecollection.omeka.net/items/show/497.

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