1962 Cristóbal Balenciaga Haute Couture Off Shoulder Yellow Silk Dress
The Balenciaga label launched in 1937, closed briefly from 1940 -1945 and then reopened until Cristobal's retirement in 1968. This gown was made in the Paris atelier for the 1962 season. The only other version of it is held in the Balenciaga archives. A photo of the back of this same dress can be found in the book 'Balenciga and Spain', making this dress very well documented. This is true Haute Couture from when Balenciaga himself was a member of the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris and designing for his label. Pieces made during this brief period under Cristobal are very rare and this is an especially fine example. The legacy of influential Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga, continues to today. He is often reffered to as 'The Master of Couture' and rightly so. The recent V&A exhibit 'Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion' 'examined the work and legacy of influential Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga, with over 100 pieces crafted by ‘the master’ of couture, his protégées and contemporary fashion designers working in the same innovative tradition.'. I feel that this gown could have easily been included in that exhibit and is of museum quality.
The construction of the dress is highly sculptural in nature and a beautiful example of Cristóbal's work. The silk has a satin finish and the heavier weight of this fabric choice allows for the precise, sculptural lines that you see. The sleeves sit just off the shoulder curving away from the neckline in an elegant line. At the front the neckline curves upwards to bring the eye to the face. At the back it curves down to draw the eye to the long trailing bow that runs down the back. The bodice is fitted with a boned and cupped corset inside. This shapes the wearer and cinches in the waist. The hips curve outwards and the skirt falls to the floor in a perfect line that gradually widens out as it nears the hem. The back is magnificent with a a flat half bow at the center back that covers the fastenings. This trails down to the hem and the the skirt dips down slightly with extra pleating for fullness.
Inside the dress is a highly structured foundation garment. The interior corseting has all the things one looks for in couture of this time period. It is boned by hand with steel boning. It is a full inner corset with a complicated construction of elasticized fabric combined with built in cups that are covered in a silk net. This interior corset closes with a series of lingerie hooks and there is even an added a panel of soft silk velvet that is placed under the hooks and against your skin so you do not feel the hooks at all. The dress zips up over this and despite all of this interior work all you see on the exterior is that beautiful sculpted shape with not a single bump or creases to give away the construction underneath. Examples of his work are held in museums world wide and a gown in this condition and color is a rare find indeed. It is in very good condition but does have some small flaws. Please review the description notes below
Unlined with a full built in interior corset and a half skirt that helps to create some volume at the back. It is completely made by hand as the parameters of Haute Couture dictates. It closes with a handset back fine painted metal zipper and the interior corset closes with a series of lingerie hooks. Handset snaps close the lower skirt over the zipper and secure the bow into place. The Haute Couture label and numbered tag underneath are present. There are some faint marks in the fabric around the waistline and some slight fold lines in the fabric here and there from storage. Some rust marks are seen on the interior corset and some torn seams and marks on the interior top bodice and just at the very edge of the seam on the exterior. I have photoed all of the areas. Please review the photos after the label and tape number shot and before the reference photo. None compromise the integrity if the piece. It appears the inner hem was redone at a later date as the thread does not match anything else and looks like it was not done by hand. It was photoed on a size 2 dressmakers form and just fit so best for a size 0-2.
Due to the rarity and nature of this gown it is sold as a final sale.
Bust: 15" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 11.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 54" from shoulder to front hem, 56" to back hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XXS-XS
Reference Photos: (1) From the book 'Balenciaga & Spain'. / (2) From the Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa.
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.