Tuileries thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A


Evening Dress
1957 (made)
Place of origin

This evening dress and petticoat of black net with white polka dots was designed around 1957 by Lanvin-Castillo in Paris.

Object details

Object type
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Evening Dress
  • Petticoat
TitleTuileries (assigned by artist)
Materials and techniques
Machine-sewn net on a boned foundation, net stiffened with nylon crin, sturdy grosgrain, satin ribbon trimming, stiffened net and gauze and silk taffeta
Brief description
Evening dress of net and petticoat of silk taffeta and net, 'Tuileries', designed by Antonio Castillo for Lanvin, Paris, 1957.
Physical description
Short evening dress of black net with white felt spots, and petticoat of black silk taffeta and layers of stiffened net and gauze.
  • Bust circumference: 74cm
  • Waist circumference: 60cm
  • Petticoat waist circumference: 59cm
  • Hem circumference: 220cm
Production typeHaute couture
Gallery label
  • [Case panel] Cocktail and Early Evening Daywear was followed by formal afternoon dresses (robes après-midi habillées), cocktail dresses (robes de cocktail), semi-evening (robes demi-soir) and short evening dresses (robes du soir courtes). These distinctions became simpler as the decade progressed and social codes began to break down. Cocktail dresses first appeared in the 1920s and gained a new popularity after the war. They were worn at early evening or ‘6 to 8’ gatherings, where guests usually stood and mingled. The gowns could include complex bustles and skirt details, which would be crushed if sat on. In his book the Little Dictionary of Fashion (1954) Christian Dior described cocktail dresses as ‘elaborate and dressy afternoon frocks’, preferably in black taffeta, satin, chiffon and wool. These confections became the personification of the ‘little black dress’ and were often accessorised with gloves and small hats. [Object label] ‘Tuileries’ cocktail dress (robe de cocktail) Lanvin Castillo (Antonio del Castillo (1908–84)) Paris 1957 Several grand houses were rejuvenated by taking on new designers, though few changed their name. Lanvin had been established by Jeanne Lanvin in 1909 and became Lanvin-Castillo when the Spanish designer Antonio del Castillo was appointed as chief designer in 1950. This dress pays homage to flamenco. In a fashion feature in French Vogue it was accessorised with a lace mantilla. Stiffened net and gauze, crêpe de Chine, silk and taffeta with felt polka dots Given by Lady Stella Ednam V&A: T.52&A-1974(22/09/2007-06/01/2008)
  • EVENING DRESS, taffeta, spotted net and net French, Paris, Lanvin-Castillo about 1958 The 1950s vogue for the puff-ball silhouette led to the development of underpinnings which almost rival those of the mid-19th century. Street clothes were held out by the '50s equivalent of crinolines - petticoats with channels containing plastic hoops or paper nylon or starched underskirts. However, couture clothes such as this extravagant, strapless evening dress had their own specially built petticoats. In this playful Lanvin-Castillo design attention is focused on the back which forms an almost bustle-like protrusion. The petticoat falls straight at the front but behind has many layers of net and stiffening. The dress fastens over this and the top layer of net with large felt spots is curved up at the back to reveal the innumerable frills beneath. A double satin ribbon forms a sash and its plaited end with bow nestles in the black frills. Worn and given by Stella, Lady Ednam. The Cecil Beaton Collection T.52&A-1974(1983-84)
Credit line
Given by Stella, Lady Ednam
Object history
The evening dress was designed by Lanvin-Castillo,1957. It was worn and given by Stella, Lady Ednam. When displayed in the Cecil Beaton exhibition this dress was mistaken for a Balmain design and catalogued accordingly (38)
Historical context
The Spanish-born designer Antonio del Castillo joined the long-established house of Lanvin in 1950, and from that date it became known as Lanvin-Castillo. Castillo was known for his evening gowns with tightly fitting bodices perched above spreading skirts. It reverted to the original name of Lanvin when Castillo left in the early 1960s to establish his own house.

"Other old established houses were rejuvenated by taking on new chief designers, such as Lanvin, which unusually was renamed Lanvin Castillo following the appointment of Antonio Canovas del Castillo in 1950. This very grand, luxurious establishment, arranged over six floors, had 600 employees and a mainly private clientele, and was described by Time magazine as the place where Parisiennes would go 'if they wanted to be sure they would not be mistaken for Americans'.” From Wilcox, C., 'Dior's Golden Age' in Wilcox, C., ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57 (V&A Publications, London), p.46
Made for spring/summer 1957
Subject depicted
This evening dress and petticoat of black net with white polka dots was designed around 1957 by Lanvin-Castillo in Paris.
Bibliographic references
  • Vogue (French), April 1957, p.107.
  • Vickers, H., 'Cecil Beaton' in Wilcox, C., ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57 (V&A Publications, London), p.166
  • Wilcox, C., 'Dior's Golden Age' in Wilcox, C., ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57 (V&A Publications, London), pl.2.16
  • Mendes, Valerie. Black In Fashion. London: V&A Publications, 1999.
  • Fashion : An Anthology by Cecil Beaton. London : H.M.S.O., 1971 no. 38
Accession number

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Record createdDecember 9, 2002
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