1920s Babani Haute Couture Silk Velvet w Geometric Gold Metallic Cord Dress
Vitaldi Babani founded the Babani atelier in Paris in 1894. Originally they imported art, furniture, embroideries, silks and exotic goods from China, Japan, India, and Turkey. By 1910 they were producing their own label garments. The designs were heavily inspired by the wares they were importing and they often incorporated some of the antique textiles that they were bringing into Paris. They were known for the exoticism of their designs and the heavy embroideries and high craft that was put int their garments. In 1928, Katherine Hepburn famously wore a white crushed velvet Babani dress with antique gold embroidery for her 1928 wedding to Ludlow Ogden Smith. This is a rare and wonderful dress by the House of Babani and it is remarkable in both its condition and its design.
The base of the dress is an inky black silk velvet that has the same weight and feel of the Fortuny's I have seen from this period. Which would not be a stretch given that the Babani company had a license to retail textiles and garments by the Venice-based designer. To have used some of those velvet's for their own label would not have been out of question. The shape is very loose and easy. It follows the tubular fashion of the day with the middle portion of the dress almost curving outwards a touch. On the body it looks tremendously modern and oversized. Even a small framed girl could wear this and just carry it off in a different way then someone closer to the garment's actual measuremnts. Onto the black velvet is an elaborate and intricate geometric design. This has been created by using thick gold metallic cording to create the outer edgings of the design. The inner parts of the design are then filled with a thinner gold thread. All of the thread has that feel of being made out of actual metal. This is an extraordinary opportunity to own a piece of rare fashion history from one of the most elusive of labels from this period. Excellent antique condition
The dress slips on and is fully lined in a fine black silk. It has no closures. All of the embroidery work is present and fully intact. I see some waviness to the velvet under the arms where it has been worn and slightly folded over time. There is perhaps an area or two where the pile of the velvet has gone into a slightly different direction but there are no true flaws overall. For a garment of this age and this rarity it is in excellent antique condition
Bust: 22" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 22.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 23" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 43" from top of shoulder to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-LRG
Note that antique and twenties pieces are final sale. They will be packed exceedingly well and we only sell pieces that will stand up to the stress of shipping, however, having pieces potentially shipped multiple times through multiple customs and countries is too hard on garments that are historically important and deserve to be treated with love and care. Please purchase accordingly.
This garment is sent in clean. as found condition