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Evening dress

Evening dress

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1985 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hayes, Helene, born 29 - died 4 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk velvet and silk taffeta

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Alexander James Hayes, son of the designer

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

With an emphasis on large, puffed shoulders and fabric layering, this dress reflects the 1980s taste for exuberant eveningwear. Combining historical references (such as the appearance of slashed fabric, a nod to the style of the 16th century) with the large-shouldered silhouette of the decade, it is an over-the-top confection that is perhaps more costume than fashion.

London-born Helene Hayes was brought up in New South Wales, Australia. She moved to Paris in the early 1960s to study sculpture. She began working in the fashion business in 1965 as a manager in the house of Jean Louis Scherrer. From the early 1980s, Helene Hayes operated her Parisian couture boutique first at 2 rue de Tournon and then at 42 Avenue Montaigne. Her clients included Mrs Rupert Murdoch, Mrs Henry Ford, Mrs Gordon Getty, Mme Claude Picasso and Mme Juliette May Ray.

Physical description

This full-length evening dress includes historical references within its fashionable 1980s silhouette. The black velvet skirt is topped with an over-skirt of candy-striped pink taffeta. Simulating the slashed garments of the sixteenth century, the openings in the large, puffed shoulders are lined with the same candy-striped fabric. A large bow made from the same striped fabric graces the centre of the neckline.

Place of Origin

France (made)


ca. 1985 (made)


Hayes, Helene, born 29 - died 4 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Silk velvet and silk taffeta

Marks and inscriptions

Helene Hayes
made in France
garment label


Circumference: 66 cm waist, Circumference: 76 cm bust, Length: 126 cm

Object history note

This dress came from the archive of the designer. It was donated to the Museum by her son, five years after her death.

Descriptive line

Black velvet and pink-striped taffeta evening dress, 1985


Silk velvet; Silk taffeta


Fashion; Evening wear; Textiles

Production Type

Haute couture


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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