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Evening Dress

ca. 1953 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Jean Dessès’s fascination with draping and classical form resulted in gowns of great technical complexity. The intricate pleating across the bodice here is an example of a construction technique that Dessès favoured both for early evening and formal occasions. Although the bodice appears to be soft and unstructured, it is supported by the sewn-in boning common at the time. Dessès's early evening wear used a subtle palette of creams, beiges and pale pinks, but he later introduced vibrant reds as in this example.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Pleated silk chiffon with integral boning
Brief Description
Full length strapless evening dress of silk chiffon, designed by Jean Dessès, France, ca. 1953
Physical Description
Full length strapless evening dress of red silk chiffon features Dessès's virtuoso pleating technique. A long tie crosses over the neck and falls to the back. With integral boning.
Style
Production typeHaute couture
Gallery Label
Evening dress (robe du soir longue) Jean Dessès (1904–70) Paris About 1953 Dessès’s fascination with draping and classical form resulted in gowns of great technical complexity. Although the bodice appears to be soft and unstructured, it is supported by the sewn-in boning common at the time. Chiffon Worn by Mrs Opal Holt and given by Mrs Haynes and Mrs Clark(22/09/2007-06/01/2008)
Credit line
Given by Mrs D.M. Haynes and Mrs M. Clark
Object history
Opal Holt was born in Canada in 1887 but lived in the US until the end of the Second World War. She travelled extensively between the wars and was in the first plane to land in Bali. She married Herbert Holt, a Canadian who lived a large part of his life in England, as her third husband in 1946. They came to England and Europe every summer and Opal Holt began buying clothes in Paris for her life in England, and for the Bahamas in Winter, over a period of about thirty years. She died in 1980.



Given by Mrs D.M Haynes and Mrs. Clark (nee Holt; Opal Holt's step-daughters).
Summary
Jean Dessès’s fascination with draping and classical form resulted in gowns of great technical complexity. The intricate pleating across the bodice here is an example of a construction technique that Dessès favoured both for early evening and formal occasions. Although the bodice appears to be soft and unstructured, it is supported by the sewn-in boning common at the time. Dessès's early evening wear used a subtle palette of creams, beiges and pale pinks, but he later introduced vibrant reds as in this example.
Bibliographic Reference
Stanfill, S., 'Jean Dessès' in Wilcox, C., ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57 (V&A Publications, 2007), p.84-5 and pl.3.15
Collection
Accession Number
T.105-1982

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record createdDecember 6, 2007
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