1940s Jacques Griffe Haute Couture Draped Black SIlk Satin Dress
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Jacques Griffe was considered to be one of the great French couturiers and was one of very few designers capable of the complete design process from sketching to draping, cutting, and sewing the garments. He training began under the tutelage of a local tailor, and was refined in Paris, when he worked for Madeleine Vionnet from 1936-39. Vionnet exposed him to unique ways of cutting, and techniques in draping that enhanced the curves of the female body. It is an interesting note that while working under Vionnet he also learned her technique of draping and cutting the fabric using a miniature, jointed, mannequin. He embraced that method and like Vionnet, he designed by draping fabric directly onto these small mannequins for the rest of his career. In fact, when he launched his own fashion house in 1941, she actually presented him with a wooden mannequin as a gift. A ready to wear line followed in 1947 and he continued to design until his atelier closed in 1968.
This is a rare and early design by Griffe and would have been made entirely by hand in his Paris atelier. The dress showcases some of his signature design elements. The strapless bodice was a favored silhouette and the rich silk satin used for its construction had enough weight to allow him to drape and cut it to form the exact shape he was after. The richness of the fabric also adds a layer of texture and richness to the gown. The bodice is strapless and fitted to the bust. Inside, it is boned and has small front padding inset by hand so the wearer can forego undergarments there if she wished. An attached panel in the same fabric gracefully curves up and around the neck and then trails down the back. This was a signature of Griffe during this time period and was copied endlessly by others. The skirt wraps around itself and then curves gently upwards at the back where the ends overlap. A wonderful example of his work. Excellent condition
The dress is unlined through the skirt and lined in a fine black silk through the bodice. There is wire boning and padding inside the bodice interior. The dress is entirely made by hand as Haute Couture demands. The silk satin shows nothing more then normal patina for its age. There are no significant pulls or scuffs.
Bust: to 16" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 12.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 20.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 10" from top of dress to waist
Skirt: 42.5" from waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.