Evening Dress thumbnail 1
Evening Dress thumbnail 2
+3
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Evening Dress

1948 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Jean Dessès experimented with puffed out or bouffant shapes. The velvet used for this dress had the stiffness needed to keep its bouffant shape. The gown is intricately cut. It has a tightly fitted bodice with a low, stand-away neckline that encloses a bow-trimmed brassiere in plain silk velvet. The long skirt has a fishtail train. Its side panels are gathered to form the panniers you can see here, which are supported by net frills. The panniers exaggerate the hips and then curve behind where they cross and slot through each other in an ingenious design. The dress fastens at the centre back with a zip.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk velvet and net
Brief Description
Full length evening dress of silk velvet, designed by Jean Dessès, textile designed by Bianchini-Férier, Paris, 1948
Physical Description
Full length evening dress of black silk velvet with a woven pattern of small checks. The fitted bodice has a low and wide round neck, slightly wider at the shoulder to cover the top of the arm. It has an inset of black velvet, shaped as a brassiere with a hook fastening at the back and trimmed with two black velvet bows. The bodice has a horizontal panel with a centre front 'V'. The skirt is gathered at the waist and arranged to drape as bouffant panniers and caught at the back like a knot. The skirt from knee to hem is straight, though slightly fuller at the back. Centre back zip fastening. With net frill support.
Dimensions
  • Waist circumference: 67cm
  • Bust circumference: 82cm
  • Bottom hem circumference: 200cm
Stockman European Female size 40
Production typeHaute couture
Gallery Label
  • Evening gown Jean Dessès (1904-70) Paris 1948 autumn/winter This gown featured in French Vogue in October 1948. The magazine promoted both couturier and fabric supplier by name. Bianchini Férier had provided Parisian couturiers with impressive silks since the late 19th century. The weight and textural qualities of this velvet lend themselves well to the construction and shape of Dessès' draped, bouffant style. Voided silk velvet by Bianchini Férier Given by the Hon. Mrs J.J. Astor V&A: T.113-1974(22/09/2007)
  • EVENING DRESS, voided silk velvet (chequerboard pattern) and velvet French, Paris, Jean Dessés, about 1948 In the late 1940s and early 1950s, freed from the oppression of war, Paris based designers expeirmented with a variety of exotic shapes, some based on historical dress. Fabric was stiffened, padded, weighted and under-pinned to achieve impressive but often impractical shapes. Here Jean Dessés explores the possibilities of panniers set against a sheath dress. Black gives the form immediate drama. Intricately cut, the dress has a tightly fitted bodice with a stand-away neckline revealing a velvet modesty trimmed with bows. The bodice front has a V-shaped yoke which attaches to the skirt and gathered to the same seam are side panniers shaped by stiff net frills. The pannier panels curve behind where they cross and slot into the lower back of the skirt. The skirt is straight and tight at the front and has a fishtail at the back. Worn and given by the Hon, Mrs J J Astor The Cecil Beaton Collection T.113-1974(1983-84)
Credit line
Given by the Hon. Mrs J.J. Astor
Association
Summary
Jean Dessès experimented with puffed out or bouffant shapes. The velvet used for this dress had the stiffness needed to keep its bouffant shape. The gown is intricately cut. It has a tightly fitted bodice with a low, stand-away neckline that encloses a bow-trimmed brassiere in plain silk velvet. The long skirt has a fishtail train. Its side panels are gathered to form the panniers you can see here, which are supported by net frills. The panniers exaggerate the hips and then curve behind where they cross and slot through each other in an ingenious design. The dress fastens at the centre back with a zip.
Bibliographic References
  • Vogue (France), October 1948, p.43.
  • Miller, L.E., 'Perfect Harmony', in Wilcox, C., ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-57 (V&A Publications, London: 2007), p.122 and pl.5.6&7
  • Mendes, Valerie. Black In Fashion. London: V&A Publications, 1999. p. 55.
  • Fashion : An Anthology by Cecil Beaton. London : H.M.S.O., 1971
Collection
Accession Number
T.113-1974

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdFebruary 21, 2003
Record URL