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Dress - 'Les Muguets' (Lilies of the Valley)

'Les Muguets' (Lilies of the Valley)

  • Object:

    Dress

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1955 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk organdie with silk and sequin embroidery; with satin gloves

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Viscountess de Bonchamps

  • Museum number:

    T.223 to B-1974

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Formal evening gowns were an essential part of a society lady’s wardrobe in the 1950s. Sumptuously embroidered and accessorised with jewels, these gowns provided a glittering show at receptions and balls, the opera or the theatre. Some were specially commissioned for a specific occasion, and worn only once, others bear evidence of alterations.

This dress is embroidered with silk thread and sequins from top to bottom, which would have been very expensive as it was done entirely by hand. It would have been sent out to one of the many specialist workshops in Paris, and each tiny sequin and stitch placed individually by a team of highly-skilled embroiderers.

The dress was worn with a pair of full-length black evening gloves.

Physical description

Evening dress of white silk organdie with an all over embroidered pattern of lily of the valley in white and cream silk and plastic sequins. It is full-length and has a high waist, is strapless, and has a train. The strapless bodice has a curved neckline with a low back. The bodice is boned and has two circular bust pads. The dress and bodice have a left side zipper and press stud fastening. The dress is fully lined.

T.223-A&B Long evening gloves, in black satin; elasticated at inside wrist and top of glove.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)

Date

1955 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Silk organdie with silk and sequin embroidery; with satin gloves

Object history note

Worn and given by the Viscountess de Bonchamps

Descriptive line

Strapless full-length evening dress of white silk organdie with an all over embroidered pattern in white silk and white plastic sequins, worn with long black satin evening gloves

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Palmer, A., 'Inside Paris Haute Couture' in Wilcox, C., ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57 (V&A Publications, 2007), pl.3.2
Registered Description files
Fashion : An Anthology by Cecil Beaton. London : H.M.S.O., 1971

Labels and date

'Les Muguets' (Lily of the Valley) evening dress (robe du soir longue)
Hubert de Givenchy (born 1927)
Paris
1955

The strapless bodice includes inset boning, so the wearer could step into the garment and not have to wear cumbersome corsets. This was standard in a couture gown.

Silk organdie embroidered with sequins

Given by the Viscountess de Bonchamps
V&A: T.223-1974 [22/09/2007-06/01/2008]

Materials

Organdie; Silk; Sequins; Silk thread; Satin; Elastic

Techniques

Sewing; Weaving; Embroidering

Subjects depicted

Lily of the Valley

Categories

Embroidery; Fashion; Evening wear

Production Type

Haute couture

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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