'Les Muguets' (Lilies of the Valley) thumbnail 1
'Les Muguets' (Lilies of the Valley) thumbnail 2
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'Les Muguets' (Lilies of the Valley)

Dress
1955 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Formal evening gowns were an essential part of a society lady’s wardrobe in the 1950s. Sumptuously embroidered and accessorised with jewels, these gowns provided a glittering show at receptions and balls, the opera or the theatre. Some were specially commissioned for a specific occasion, and worn only once, others bear evidence of alterations.

This dress is embroidered with silk thread and sequins from top to bottom, which would have been very expensive as it was done entirely by hand. It would have been sent out to one of the many specialist workshops in Paris, and each tiny sequin and stitch placed individually by a team of highly-skilled embroiderers.

The dress was worn with a pair of full-length black evening gloves.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Dress
  • Glove
  • Glove
Materials and Techniques
Silk organdie with silk and sequin embroidery; with satin gloves
Brief Description
Strapless full-length evening dress of white silk organdie with an all over embroidered pattern in white silk and white plastic sequins, worn with long black satin evening gloves
Physical Description
Evening dress of white silk organdie with an all over embroidered pattern of lily of the valley in white and cream silk and plastic sequins. It is full-length and has a high waist, is strapless, and has a train. The strapless bodice has a curved neckline with a low back. The bodice is boned and has two circular bust pads. The dress and bodice have a left side zipper and press stud fastening. The dress is fully lined.



T.223-A&B Long evening gloves, in black satin; elasticated at inside wrist and top of glove.
Style
Production typeHaute couture
Gallery Label
'Les Muguets' (Lily of the Valley) evening dress (robe du soir longue) Hubert de Givenchy (born 1927) Paris 1955 The strapless bodice includes inset boning, so the wearer could step into the garment and not have to wear cumbersome corsets. This was standard in a couture gown. Silk organdie embroidered with sequins Given by the Viscountess de Bonchamps V&A: T.223-1974(22/09/2007-06/01/2008)
Credit line
Given by the Viscountess de Bonchamps
Object history
Worn and given by the Viscountess de Bonchamps
Subject depicted
Association
Summary
Formal evening gowns were an essential part of a society lady’s wardrobe in the 1950s. Sumptuously embroidered and accessorised with jewels, these gowns provided a glittering show at receptions and balls, the opera or the theatre. Some were specially commissioned for a specific occasion, and worn only once, others bear evidence of alterations.



This dress is embroidered with silk thread and sequins from top to bottom, which would have been very expensive as it was done entirely by hand. It would have been sent out to one of the many specialist workshops in Paris, and each tiny sequin and stitch placed individually by a team of highly-skilled embroiderers.



The dress was worn with a pair of full-length black evening gloves.
Bibliographic References
  • Palmer, A., 'Inside Paris Haute Couture' in Wilcox, C., ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57 (V&A Publications, 2007), pl.3.2
  • Registered Description files
  • Fashion : An Anthology by Cecil Beaton. London : H.M.S.O., 1971
Other Number
812 - Model number
Collection
Accession Number
T.223 to B-1974

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record createdApril 4, 2005
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