john anthony

Elegant Fall 1981 John Anthony Couture Hand Beaded Brown Silk Chiffon Top & Skirt Set

John Anthony's business was all done on a made-to-order basis. That means that each piece is the only one that exists or in the very occasional circumstance that there are similar pieces only a very limited amount of pieces were made. And to make things even a little more special.... the pieces I have in the shop come directly from John's archive. He is one of the great American couturiers and he was known for his sharp tailoring and striking evening wear. He launched his atelier in 1971 and he quickly rose to fame, winning a Coty award in 1972 and then again in 1976. This dress is one of two pieces I have from his Fall 1981 collection and both are the original samples from his archives. No photos were found of the runway presentation of these exact two pieces but we did find a series of photos of pieces with the same beadwork so you can get an idea of how beautiful they are on the body. 

The fabric this dress is made out of is a light weight silk chiffon in a deep brown colour. This is a set and I love that this gives you that bit of added versatility of having the skirt and top to mix and match or wear together. Onto the chiffon is a dense application of beads that are set in vertical rows that cover almost all of the dress except for the top of the bodice. This is done deliberately and acts as a part of the pattern of the piece. All of the beads have been applied by hand in perfect little rows onto the silk. This makes the set glimmer softly from every angle. Both pieces have a simple and easy cut so that they are easy to wear and are very flattering on the body. The neckline of the top is a simple scoop and closes with a hook and eye at the back of the neck above a keyhole. The bodice is cut to skim down over you to the waist. The waist is finished with elastic and the bodice is  meant to pouf and curve under you a touch like how I photoed it. The skirt has a banded waist and falls to the floor under that in a swoop of fabric flaring out a touch as it nears the hem. It has a high slit on one side that has dangling beads hanging down and over the opening. The sleeves are completely beaded in the same vertical rows of beads and then they fall in a straight cut to the wrist for a touch of fullness. They are gorgeous when worn together. The work has all been done by hand and the workmanship is fantastic. They fall like a dream once on the body. Excellent condition with a minor note below

Fully lined in a second layer of nude silk chiffon. The top closes with a hook and eye above a keyhole at the back of the neck and has elastic at the bottom seam. The skirt closes with hook and eye at the waist and a zipper under that. There are minor missing areas of beads here and there and some of the dangling beads over the skirt seam are missing. Please see the photo after the label shot for an example. The sample tag is stitched inside the cuff of one sleeve.

Sleeves: 23"
Shoulders: 14.5"
Bust: to 20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: to 21" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bottom seam: 14-20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 27" from neck to hem

Waist: 12" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 20.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 45" from waist to hem
Slit: 27" from hem up

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML

Item# DD4571

Reference Photos: Fall 1981 John Anthony Ready to Wear Advance Preview.

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Please review all measurements carefully. More often than not, vintage garments do not fit any size category exactly. If in doubt, measure a garment of your own that fits and is a similar cut and compare it's measurements to the listed measurements below.