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Evening dress

Evening dress

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1986 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Arbeid, Murray, born 1935 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk velvet and taffeta

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the designer

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This bold evening dress by Murray Arbeid uses contrast to great effect. The strapless, fitted velvet bodice and full, rustling taffeta skirt are in dramatic black and red, a classic colour scheme. An identical dress to this was worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1986 to a film première. The Princess was a stylish public figure whose clothes made headlines and launched copycat styles. She famously accessorised her Arbeid dress with one red and one black satin glove.

Physical description

Black silk velvet strapless evening dress with a fitted sheath bodice and drop-waisted full skirt in red taffeta, with the hemline higher in front than behind.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1986 (made)


Arbeid, Murray, born 1935 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Silk velvet and taffeta


Length: 144.5 cm centre back, Length: 101 cm centre front, Circumference: 85.5 cm bust, Circumference: 65 cm waist

Object history note

As worn by Diana, Princess of Wales.

Descriptive line

Silk velvet strapless evening dress with a drop-waisted full skirt in taffeta, designed by Murray Arbeid, Great Britain, 1986

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

De La Haye, Amy, ed. The Cutting Edge: 50 Years of British Fashion 1947-1997. London: V&A Publications, 1997.

Labels and date

The Princess of Wales wore an identical drop-waisted dress to the première of the film 'The Mission'. She accessorised it with one red and one black satin glove. With its strapless bodice and flounced skirt raised at the front, Murray Arbeid's design perfectly captured the 1980s mood for glamour and romance. [1997]


Taffeta; Silk (textile)


Velvet weave


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


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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