james galanos

Superb Late 1970s James Galanos Multi Layer Black Silk Chiffon Dress w Removeble Ruffled Collar

James Galanos launched Galanos Originals in 1951. He was only 27 years old. By 1954 he had won a Coty award and the Neiman Marcus award. By 1958 he was producing clothing that could range in price from $200 to $3000, an astronomical price for ready-to-wear for that time period. His ready-to-wear was made to couture standards and on par with the French couturiers of the time. Grace Kelly was a huge fan and his work is held in all of the major museums around the world. He is one of my personal favourites and this dress is a stunning example of his work. It is one of those dresses that really needs to be on an actual body to come to life but once it is on a body it is even better than what you see here. These black chiffon dresses that are all bias cut are almost impossible to photo properly on a dress form and only come to life once on.

This dress is spectacular and it is in its original uncut length. The dress is made out of four full layers of silk chiffon through the skirt that are perfectly stacked on top of each. The sleeves are made of two layers of the  same silk chiffon and then the bodice is backed in a black silk to make it opaque. This dress is also interesting, because the way that the skirt is set into the back uses the same technique as this 1957 dress I that I have had in the shop before and whose version resides in the Met's collection. You can click through the link in the previous sentence to see that for reference and it gives you a bit of an idea of how this dress will look on the body but backwards. In the Vogue's description at the time the skirt was described as being; 'narrow in outline, but with beautiful easy folds from the waist, falling in self contained spirals' which is a lovely way to describe the way that it is set into the dress. I love that he referenced his own work in this way. The fabric is a beautiful light weight black silk chiffon that floats over the body. The skirt is cut so that it gathers up and into the middle of the dress at the back. This gives it that lovely draping down the back and it extends out a little longer  at the hem. A high slit is also hidden in the draping so when you walk you get a flash of your legs. At the front the skirt has a very minimal feel that I love. The bodice above that is cut to skim and blouse over the body to the waist and the waist is cut with a more generous feel. You could add a belt if you wanted to cinch that in more and give it more shape. Adding a belt would also bring the waist line up a bit and give you even more of a blousing feel unless you put the belt a little lower at the top of the hip. The neck is high and then at the back it buttons down to close across the top of the back shoulders. I think that you could actually wear the dress either way and just have the hem fall a little longer at the front if you wished because it is that well-made. It has a more oversized feel through the top that is intentional and then the skirt is more narrow. The sleeves are spectacular and each one is cut wide and extremely full above the ruffled wrist. They are set deep into the bodice with a little bit of pleating around the top. so you get a touch of a capped feeling sleeve. The dress came with its original matching neck ruffle that hooks into place around the neck. I love how this in essence gives you two different dresses. If you choose not to wear the ruffle, it feels minimalist and stark from the front and when you add the ruffle it adds that extra bit of glamour and movement around the neck. It is a fabulous addition to the dress and it really showcases just what a genius he was. Excellent condition

Both pieces are fully lined in a black silk chiffon as described above. It closes with a low painted metal zipper at the waist and then has a row of buttons above that. Hand finishes. It appears to have been worn very little if at all.

Sleeves: 27"
Slightly inset shoulders: 14"
Bust: 19-21" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 13.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 19.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 20" from neck to waist
Total length: 69" from neck to front hem, 73" to the back hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD4611

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