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Evening dress
  • Evening dress
    Balenciaga, Cristóbal, born 1895 - died 1972
  • Enlarge image

Evening dress

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1958 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Balenciaga, Cristóbal, born 1895 - died 1972 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Crêpe de Chine with lace and satin. Lace by Marescot.

  • Credit Line:

    Given anonymously

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On short term loan out for exhibition, case B33

In 1957 and 1958 Balenciaga produced a group of flounced lace dresses. They were known as 'Baby Doll' dresses. This one has a provocative tight black crêpe de Chine underdress. You can see it clearly through the semi-transparent black lace overdress. This overdress is very wide and flared. It has short sleeves and a low waist with a gathered flounced skirt. Two giant black satin bows mark the middle of the neck and the middle of the waist. They also add to the child-like theme.

Physical description

Dress made up of black crêpe de Chine underdress, lace overdress and satin bows.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


1958 (made)


Balenciaga, Cristóbal, born 1895 - died 1972 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Crêpe de Chine with lace and satin. Lace by Marescot.


Height: 155 cm, Width: 70 cm, Depth: 50 cm

Object history note

Registered File number: 1997/618

Descriptive line

Dress of crêpe de Chine, lace and satin, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1958

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

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

Labels and date

Introduced in 1958, the ‘baby doll’ dress controversially hid the shape of the woman’s figure when made in opaque fabric. In this example Balenciaga both reveals and conceals the body. The sheer, Chantilly lace hangs loosely over a fitted inner sheath, which has zips on both sides to ensure a tight fit.

Cocktail dress
Crêpe de chine, satin and lace by Marescot
Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1958
V&A: T.334-1997 [27/05/2017-07/02/2018]
Short evening dress (robe du soir courte)
Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972)
1958 autumn/winter

Balenciaga's 'baby doll' dresses pre-empted the 1960s fashion for short, child-like smocks. The London tailor Charles Creed said 'The normal woman, who does not aspire to be a leader of fashion but likes to be well dressed, should resolutely avoid the extremes. If you are not the Baby Doll type, don't try to be - no matter if it is the current rage.'

Lace with satin bows
V&A: T.334-1997 [22/09/2007-06/01/2008]

Production Note

Autumn/Winter 1958


Evening wear; Fashion; Women's clothes; Lace

Production Type

Haute couture


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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