Vintage dresses are often described by the type of fabric used in their construction. "Red Chiffon Dress", "Green Taffeta Gown", "Black Faille Cocktail Dress".
Faille is a type of fabric which is woven with a faintly ribbed pattern, creating a distinctive textured feel. Typically a heavier grade fabric that is designed to stand up to hard use. Cotton, rayon, and silk can all be used to create faille, which is also called bengaline in some regions of the world.
The texture of the fabric is like that of grosgrain; it is ribbed and slightly stiff. The stiffness makes faille incredibly useful for clothing, as it tends not to deform or wrinkle, and it can be used to create supportive garments or snug-fitting bodies which will look good after hours of wear. It has an excellent drape, which is why it often appears in wedding gowns, and it was very popular during the 1940s and 1950s for gowns and dresses. This fabric is durable and often quite rugged being very resistant to stains and tearing.