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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1991 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Piriou, Val, born 1963 - died 1995 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lycra and ruched elastic with net lace inserts

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Marie-Paule Piriou in memory of her daughter

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Black dominated fashion in the 1980s and 1990s. The little black dress was one of its key manifestations. Every fashionable woman was expected to have one in her wardrobe for parties and clubbing. At its most daring, the little black dress demanded a brave wearer with a toned body and/or supreme self confidence. Elasticated fabrics such as Lycra made the dresses hug the wearer tightly. Cutaway panels either exposed bare flesh, or were filled in with sheer fabric. Corset lacing emphasised the overt sexuality of the designs.

This micro-mini dress from Val Piriou's Spring-Summer collection of 1991 audaciously combines all these elements. The designer also produced swimwear designed along the same lines as her little black dresses.

Physical description

Black micro-mini dress in elasticated Lycra fabric, very tight and very short. With ruched/permanently pleated elastic sheer net lace inserts in the sides and on the bra cups. Strategically placed solid fabric in otherwise sheer bra cups. Dress has double shoulder straps, stitched together mid-way and forming inverted Y's front and back. Corset lacing down the back.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1991 (made)


Piriou, Val, born 1963 - died 1995 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Lycra and ruched elastic with net lace inserts

Marks and inscriptions

Label in garment


Length: 72 cm shoulder to hem

Object history note

Historical significance: Good example of an early 1990s super-tight, super-little, body conscious "little black dress"

Descriptive line

Micro-mini dress in elasticated Lycra fabric and net, designed by Val Piriou, London, 1991

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

Mendes, Valerie. Black In Fashion. London: V&A Publications, 1999.

Production Note

Spring-Summer 1991

Reason For Production: Retail


Lycra; Net (textile); Elastic




Evening wear; Fashion; Women's clothes; Lace; Europeana Fashion Project

Production Type

Ready to wear


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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