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Evening dress - La Sylphide

La Sylphide

  • Object:

    Evening dress

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1937 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    James, Charles, born 1906 - died 1978 (designer)

  • Museum number:

    T.226:1 to 3-1993

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Evening dress ensemble, consisting of evening dress, waistband, and corsage. Yellow silk chiffon gown with draped neckline (designed to reveal the corsage of violets), twisted shoulder straps and layered full skirt. The dress is cinched in at the waist with a pale yellow silk satin corselette, based on a 1860s corset.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


1937 (made)


James, Charles, born 1906 - died 1978 (designer)

Object history note

Purchased. Registered File number 1993/723.

See Elizabeth Ann Coleman, "The Genius of Charles James", cat. no 37, where the "Corselette" or "La Sylphide" dress is identified as being made in Paris in 1937. This medium- and pale-yellow model is not among those described in the catalogue, and may well be the version photographed by Cecil Beaton for US Vogue, June 1 1937, page 49.

Fabric is a yellow organza over two layers pink, one organza, one silk crepe (?)
The bodice constructed like the stiff brocaded “beetle” dress at Birr.
Photo notes:
Hem: Seaming at bottom of hem is various geometric shapes
Bodice: gussets under the arms and triple folding of fabric appear frequently in his early works
Corselette: Compared to the Birr Sylphide corselette:stitching is very similar but not identical
Back (on form): note how beautifully the corselette settles into the construction of the waist of the dress and fits on the hip yoke.
Front (on form): skirt being held out at the points that are created in cut of skirt at knee level. There are 6 or 8 points around the skirt. GCJ cat. 37

Jan G. Reeder, Curator, The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Taken May, 2011, Compiled September, 2011

Descriptive line

Evening ensemble (evening dress, waistband and corsage), designed by Charles James, France, 1937.


Silk chiffon; Silk satin; Artificial flowers


Fashion; Clothing


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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