c.1954 Jeanne Lanvin Castillo Haute Couture Emerald & Gold Organza Dress
This is a stunning example of the couture work being done by the house of Lanvin during the years that Antonio Castillo headed the atelier. Castillo started off his career at the houses of Paquin and Piquet. He also did a stint designing accessories for Chanel. In 1950 he became the head designer at the House of Lanvin. The press at the time lauded him, along with Balmain, Dior and Balenciaga, as the new generation of the Paris Couture designers. During his time at Lanvin the house was known for the simple and elegant lines of the clothes and his metallic pieces were particularly sought after. This is a rare Haute Couture dress from that period whose label is the one used from 1954 to his departure in 1962. I found a couple of photos of a 'gold organza' dress that has the same pleated metallic skirt treatment that this one does and was able to date it by those. It is very beautiful.
The fabric of this dress is the undeniable focal point of the dress and it is just wonderful. The bodice is a heavy silk faille dyed to a brilliant emerald green. It is cut to skim over the bodice with a seamed waist that has a matching fabric belt in the same green silk. It is sleeveless and the front is detailed with a cleverly built in pleating effect that gives a nod to the Lanvin bow but without adding bulk to the bust area by adding an actual bow there. Variations of these 'built in' bows were used extensively during the collections of 1954 and I think this is one of the best versions. The skirt is a masterpiece and you can see in the reference photos just how wonderfully it will move. I have photoed it over a light crinoline so that you can get a better idea of the full shape. The top layer is made out of a fine metallic thread silk organza that has a bias cut fine line worked through the fabric. This tiny angled line contrasts with the sharp knife pleats that the skirt has and lets the gold thread catch the light even more then it would otherwise. In person the fabric almost seems to glow. The gold color is not quite captured in these photos and I think it is far better and richer feeling when you have it in hand. Under the top gold layer is an inner silk skirt that has a deep stiffened hem to help give the skirt volume and hold the pleats true. The entire dress is made with masterful seaming and cut. The fabric choices are just extraordinary. It is a stunning and rare example of the Haute Couture pieces the house was producing in this time period. It has its Haute Couture label which is hand numbered on the reverse side. The inner silk is stamped Rhodia along the seam. Excellent condition with a small note below
Fully hand lined in silk and all done and hand stitched on the interior to Haute Couture standards. The dress closes with a side set painted metal zipper and snaps and hooks on the inner layer. Inner waist stay that hooks to close. The matching fabric sash circles the waist and there is a combination of hook & eye and hidden snaps to secure it. The inner skirt shows grubbiness and marks around the hem. Grubbiness along the edge of the hem of the outer skirt here and there and I see one teeny, well done repair on the outer skirt. If not for that it would look unworn. Hand numbered Haute Couture tag
Bust: to 19" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 15" flat across from side seam to side seam but see above notes
Bodice: 14.5" from shoulder to waist
Skirt: 40" from waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: MED-LRG
Reference Photos: (1) Lena Madsen in evening gown of finely pleated 'opaline' gauze by Lanvin-Castillo, photo by Guy Arsac, 1954. / (2) Gold organza gown by Lanvin-Castillo, 1954.
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.