Rare c.1955 Jean Desses Velvet Fused Green Silk Dress
Jean Desses opened his own couture house in 1937 and was a designated Haute Couture house under the official Chambre Syndicate de la Haute Couture. He began a ready to wear line in 1949. By 1960 the couture portion of his business was closed followed by the closure of the ready to wear 5 years later. This makes finding his pieces are very rare from either of his lines. When he expanded his atelier to serve the over seas market in the late 1950s, he was amongst the small elite group of designers that sold to the American power house department stores - Bergdorf Goodman's in this case - the right to sew his designs in America. The fabrics and design were the same as what was being produced in his atelier in France, but the construction of the actual pieces was done by couture level seamstresses in America. This elaborate system had been established bu Dior and was a clever way to get around the severe import taxation of the time period. Jean Desses kept a strict eye on what was produced and where pieces went and this caused a severe limitation on the quantities produced, even in the RTW line and from what I have found in my research, each piece was basically made to order, making it truer to demi-couture then RTW.
The dress itself is spectacular. The fabric is a rich green silk satin that seems to glow with its own inner light. Onto the silk is a fused velvet floral design that adds texture and depth. The cut is contained sexuality, nothing overt but cut to follow and highlight every curve. It has a V cut at the bodice and back is scooped off into a deep square. At the front, just under the V, it is gathered and detailed with a small pipe of fabric that catches and appears to hold the carefully placed drapes that gives it a slight Grecian feel - a signature of Jean Desses. The waist nips in under this give you that hourglass figure. The skirt is an absolute marvel of construction - the inner skirt is fitted and over it lies a panel of fabric that is secure at the waist and then ties at the back - almost apron style. Lots of fabulous detailing and finishes like an inner built in bodice and weighting at the back hem. With couture examples of Jean Desses ranging from $20,000 to over $50,000, this is a wonderful opportunity to own a design from one of the original masters. Excellent condition
The inner bodice lining and the inner front panel of the underskirt are made of a green silky rayon. The exterior fabrics are interlined in a pale green silk organza. It closes with a painted metal side zipper and the over-skirt is part attached and then ties at the back. Hand finishes and ribbon edged seam. Light boning through the bodice and inner waist stay that closes with hook and eye.
Interior Bust: 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Inner waist stay: 14.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Exterior waist if stay left open: 15" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 19.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 19" from top of bodice to waist
Skirt: 30" from waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.