Dress

1949 (made)
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Day dress, in navy blue and white spotted silk twill. It is in a cross over style, with a shawl neck, and long sleeves which are gathered slightly at the elbow, and with a zipper fastening at the wrist. An extension from skirt back, and centre back seam, wraps round the body and meets in a large bow at the left front, and held in place by a series of hooks and eyes. Lined in silk and chiffon, and has 2 shoulder pads.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk twill lined with silk and chiffon and metal zips
Brief Description
Day dress in silk twill lined with silk and chiffon, designed by Jacques Fath, Paris, 1949
Physical Description
Day dress, in navy blue and white spotted silk twill. It is in a cross over style, with a shawl neck, and long sleeves which are gathered slightly at the elbow, and with a zipper fastening at the wrist. An extension from skirt back, and centre back seam, wraps round the body and meets in a large bow at the left front, and held in place by a series of hooks and eyes. Lined in silk and chiffon, and has 2 shoulder pads.
Dimensions
  • Waist circumference: 62cm
Production typeHaute couture
Marks and Inscriptions
'Jacques Fath Paris' [with emblem above] (Label, machine woven black on white)
Gallery Label
LADY ALEXANDRA: A COUTURE CLIENT [case panel] Lady Alexandra Howard-Johnston (later Lady Dacre) was the wife of the Naval Attaché to Paris. She required an extensive wardrobe for the many formal dinners and state functions that she had to attend. A couture client would attend all the fashion collections, seated in the front row if she were especially important. After the show, she would place her orders with her personal vendeuse or saleswoman. A calico toile would be created, then the final garment, a process involving numerous time-consuming fittings. Lady Alexandra dressed exclusively at Jacques Fath. The designer lent her evening and day dresses each season, aware of the publicity that this would give his house. ‘If there was a Fath dress I wanted to keep, I could pay sale price at the end of the season. I was not allowed to go to any other couturier, but I did not want to – Fath was perfection.’ [object label] Wardrobe Jacques Fath (1912–54) Paris This wardrobe contains a further selection of Lady Alexandra’s hats and dresses. 1. Evening dress with train, satin with velvet trim, lined with cotton net 1953 Given by Lady Dacre V&A: T.177-1974 2. Day dress, spotted silk twill, lined with silk and chiffon 1949 Given by Lady Dacre V&A: T.176-1974(22/09/2007)
Credit line
Given by Lady Alexandra Trevor-Roper
Object history
This dress is typical of the draping and pleating characteristic of Jacques Fath's work. Fath would frequently design by draping and pinning directly onto the mannequin resulting in folds, panels or volants (as seen here).



Lady Alexandra Trevor-Roper donated a great deal of her wardrobe (mainly Jacques Fath) to the V&A as part of the Cecil Beaton gift in 1971.



The dress was originally worn with a wide-brimmed white hat. The hat, which was incorrectly numbered as part of ensemble T.174-1974, was worn with this dress as per Lady Alexandra's (5 Nov 1971) letter in the Beaton registered papers which contextualises it with this blue white-spot day dress and not a white blue/black-spot evening dress:

"A box of Jacques Fath day dresses - 1. mauve crepe, 2. yellow cotton with sash, 3. blue and white spot foulard, 4. green and black print on white... I have also found verious hats which I am also leaving. The large white Jacques Fath (boat shaped) was the one I wore with the blue and white spot dress. It has become yellow with age but it might be of interest to have the shape copeid to show it with the dress."
Subject depicted
Association
Associated Object
T.174B-1974 (Ensemble)
Collection
Accession Number
T.176-1974

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record createdJanuary 11, 2006
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