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Evening Dress

1958 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

In 1957 and 1958 Balenciaga produced a group of flounced lace dresses. They were known as 'Baby Doll' dresses. This one has a provocative tight black crêpe de Chine underdress. You can see it clearly through the semi-transparent black lace overdress. This overdress is very wide and flared. It has short sleeves and a low waist with a gathered flounced skirt. Two giant black satin bows mark the middle of the neck and the middle of the waist. They also add to the child-like theme.
read Introducing Cristóbal Balenciaga Famed for his exquisite craftmanship and innovative designs, Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga was known as 'The Master' of haute couture. An inspiration to those who follow in his footsteps, his work continues to shape fashion today.
object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Crêpe de Chine with lace and satin. Lace by Marescot.
Brief Description
Dress of crêpe de Chine, lace and satin, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1958
Physical Description
Dress made up of black crêpe de Chine underdress, lace overdress and satin bows.
Dimensions
  • Height: 155cm (Note: Maximum approximate dimension when mounted on a figure for loan; LNO86.)
  • Width: 70cm (Note: Maximum approximate dimension when mounted on a figure for loan; LNO86.)
  • Depth: 50cm (Note: Maximum approximate dimension when mounted on a figure for loan; LNO86.)
Production typeHaute couture
Gallery Label
  • BABY DOLL DRESS Introduced in 1958, the ‘baby doll’ dress controversially hid the shape of the woman’s figure when made in opaque fabric. In this example Balenciaga both reveals and conceals the body. The sheer, Chantilly lace hangs loosely over a fitted inner sheath, which has zips on both sides to ensure a tight fit. Cocktail dress Crêpe de chine, satin and lace by Marescot Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1958 V&A: T.334-1997(27/05/2017-07/02/2018)
  • Short evening dress (robe du soir courte) Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972) Paris 1958 autumn/winter Balenciaga's 'baby doll' dresses pre-empted the 1960s fashion for short, child-like smocks. The London tailor Charles Creed said 'The normal woman, who does not aspire to be a leader of fashion but likes to be well dressed, should resolutely avoid the extremes. If you are not the Baby Doll type, don't try to be - no matter if it is the current rage.' Lace with satin bows V&A: T.334-1997(22/09/2007-06/01/2008)
Credit line
Given anonymously
Object history
Registered File number: 1997/618
Production
Autumn/Winter 1958
Summary
In 1957 and 1958 Balenciaga produced a group of flounced lace dresses. They were known as 'Baby Doll' dresses. This one has a provocative tight black crêpe de Chine underdress. You can see it clearly through the semi-transparent black lace overdress. This overdress is very wide and flared. It has short sleeves and a low waist with a gathered flounced skirt. Two giant black satin bows mark the middle of the neck and the middle of the waist. They also add to the child-like theme.
Bibliographic Reference
Mendes, Valerie. Black In Fashion. London: V&A Publications, 1999.
Collection
Accession Number
T.334-1997

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record createdMarch 4, 2003
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