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Not currently on display at the V&A

Bird's Wing

Evening Dress
1986 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Closely swathing the figure, the silk taffeta of this dramatically structured garment is formed into large, irregular gathers diagonally positioned across the front. These culminate in an asymmetrical bodice, with an extraordinary, gravity defying shoulder extension. Designer Antony Price called this his ‘Bird’s Wing’ dress; the rigid folds of fabric with their feathered and serrated edge evoke associations of flight and movement. It was designed for his 1986 Winter collection.

The simple, white taffeta, with its glossy, reflective sheen offsets the complex structure of the garment. The designer’s choice of a stiff fabric allows the raised folds to retain their shape and make the dress virtually self-supporting. The folds are held in place by large, self-covered buttons which secure the dress at the side, and also provide an important visual motif. In contrast the back is quite plain, a simple bodice with a single shoulder strap and a straight, skirt fitted with darts into the waist seam.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk taffeta
Brief Description
Evening dress 'Bird's Wing' of white silk taffeta, designed by Antony Price, England, 1986
Physical Description
Evening dress of white silk taffeta. Closely swathing the figure, the taffeta of this dramatically structured garment is formed into large, irregular gathers diagonally positioned across the front. These culminate in an asymmetrical bodice, with an extraordinary gravity-defying shoulder extension.
Gallery Label
Glamorous and sculptural evening wear is the hallmark of Antony Price's work. Surreal devices were revived throughout the art world in the mid-1980s; here the designer uses images of birds, a popular metaphor for women's grace and beauty. Covered buttons are employed decoratively to stud the "wing".(1997)
Credit line
Given by Antony Price
Object history
Registered File number 1988/1156.
Production
Winter Collection 1986
Summary
Closely swathing the figure, the silk taffeta of this dramatically structured garment is formed into large, irregular gathers diagonally positioned across the front. These culminate in an asymmetrical bodice, with an extraordinary, gravity defying shoulder extension. Designer Antony Price called this his ‘Bird’s Wing’ dress; the rigid folds of fabric with their feathered and serrated edge evoke associations of flight and movement. It was designed for his 1986 Winter collection.



The simple, white taffeta, with its glossy, reflective sheen offsets the complex structure of the garment. The designer’s choice of a stiff fabric allows the raised folds to retain their shape and make the dress virtually self-supporting. The folds are held in place by large, self-covered buttons which secure the dress at the side, and also provide an important visual motif. In contrast the back is quite plain, a simple bodice with a single shoulder strap and a straight, skirt fitted with darts into the waist seam.
Bibliographic References
  • de la Haye, Amy, ed. The Cutting Edge: 50 Years of British Fashion 1947-1997. London: V&A Publications, 1997, pp. 86 and 87.
  • Wilcox, C. & Mendes, V. Modern Fashion in Detail. London: V&A Publications, 1991, p.38. ISBN 1 85177 032 1
Collection
Accession Number
T.345-1989

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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