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'Bosphore' (Bosphorus)

  • Object:

    Evening dress

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1956 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dior, Christian, born 1905 - died 1957 (designer)
    Rébé (embroiderer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered velvet with gold thread, sequins, pearls and pastes, and net, silk and boned

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr Stavros Niarchos III

  • Museum number:

    T.119-1974

  • Gallery location:

    On display in Values of Design, Design Society, Shekou, China

This dress, designed by Christian Dior (1905-57) in 1956, is short and strapless in midnight-blue velvet with delicate embroidery by Rébé, which includes velvet birds’ nests with clusters of pearl eggs.

The dress is simply cut, to show off its sumptuous surface detail. Such embellishment required meticulous patience for, as Dior explained, ‘a ball dress may be entirely covered with millions of paillettes, or pearls, each one of which has to be put on separately’.

Physical description

Strapless and short sheath evening dress of dark royal blue velvet with embroidery of gold thread, sequins, pearls and green and blue pastes in a design of sprays and tendrils springing from nests of pearls in velvet.

The dress has two attached petticoats, one of black net and one of navy blue silk, and the net liner bodice is boned. There is a zip down the back of the dress and the inner bodice fastens with hooks and eyes.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)

Date

1956 (made)

Artist/maker

Dior, Christian, born 1905 - died 1957 (designer)
Rébé (embroiderer)

Materials and Techniques

Embroidered velvet with gold thread, sequins, pearls and pastes, and net, silk and boned

Marks and inscriptions

'Christian Dior Paris Automne-Hiver 1956 84193'
Label inside bodice

Dimensions

Circumference: 66 cm waist, Circumference: 80 cm bust, Length: 92 cm

Object history note

The dress was originally designed with a plain velvet bolero, which was not given.

Worn by Mrs Eugenia Niarchos and given by Mr Stavros Niarchos III

Descriptive line

Strapless sheath evening dress 'Bosphore' from 'La Ligne Aimant ' in embroidered velvet, designed by Christian Dior, embroidered by Rébé, Paris, A/W1956

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

Wilcox, C., ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57 (V&A Publications, London: 2007), p.136 and pl.5.18.
Wilcox, C., ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57 (V&A Publications, London: 2007), p.167 and pl.7.11.

Labels and date

EMBROIDERY

Paris was the home of a luxury trade in fashion goods. Entire streets were devoted to glove makers, shoe makers and furriers while feathers, floral accessories and ribbon work were worked by hand in small workshops, much as they had been since the 18th century.

Embroidery specialists created a range of samples each season. Once selected, a design remained for the exclusive use of the couturier. Hubert de Givenchy said these samples served as ‘the springboard to creation’.

Gowns that were to be embroidered were usually simply cut to show off their sumptuous surface detail. Their embellishment required meticulous patience, for as Dior explained, ‘a ball dress may be entirely covered with millions of paillettes, or pearls, each one of which has to be put on separately’.

'Bosphore' short evening dress
Christian Dior (1905-57)
Paris
1956 autumn/winter

The midnight blue velvet has delicate embroidery by Rébé which, on closer inspection, reveals velvet birds' nests with clusters of pearl eggs.

Silk velvet, embroidered by Rébé with pearls, gold thread and cabochons

Worn by Mrs Eugenia Niarchos and given by Mr Stavros Niarchos III
V&A: T.119-1974 [22/09/2007]

Production Note

The Aimant (Magnet) line

Materials

Velvet; Gold thread; Pearls; Paste

Techniques

Embroidering

Subjects depicted

Nest; Flowers

Categories

Evening wear; Embroidery; Fashion; Women's clothes; Interiors; Household objects; Shekou; Values of Design; Design Society

Production Type

Haute couture

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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