Rare 1980s Michaele Vollbracht Beaded Silk Poncho & Wide Pant Set
Michaele Vollbracht began his fashion career working for Geoffrey Beene in 1969, where he eventually designed the Beene Bazaar line. He stayed there for two years and then moved over to Donald Brooks. After a stint there, he worked for Henri Bendel's and then Bloomingdales as an in-house illustrator. In the latter half of 1978 he decided to go back to fashion and launched his own label. By his second collection he had done so well that he earned a Coty award. Elizabeth Taylor was a huge fan and owned many of his pieces. The company folded in 1985 giving us a small, precise window to date this piece.
This set is so spectacular that it really belongs in a museum and would certainly be the show piece of any collection or exhibit focusing on Vollbracht's work. It is made of a fine silk with a hand painted floral design that runs down each side the pants and down each side of the matching poncho top. Both the pants and the poncho are cut to fall loosely on the body and the beauty of the piece lies in the way it drapes once on. It is far far better on an actual body then my dress form and really transforms. Both pieces are made from a fine lightweight silk. The pants are cut wide through the legs and by the time they reach the hem they are a full 29" around. They simply slip on with an elastic running through the waist. This makes them very comfortable to wear. I love how each pant leg is a divided into four quadrants with the two colors and how the hand painted flowers run down each leg, adding length to each. The poncho is equally amazing and also plays on that dual tone of blue and black. What I love about it, is that you can wear the poncho so any of the sides are facing the front. By changing what part of the poncho goes toward the front, it gives you a totally different look with each option. The poncho is made from one long rectangle of silk that folded and with a slit cut out for your head to slip through. One side hangs longer then the other which is what gives you the different options once it is on. You can see that I have styled it in each possible way. By turning it around it creates different lengths and looks from a crop top at the front, to a longer at the front, shorter at the sides, and with the bead design floating down either the shoulders, or the front and back. Onto the poncho is that same hand painted design on both main sides and then these are covered with extensive bead work that follows the pattern on the silk. This gives the fabric a bit of weight and helps it to fall into place perfectly once on. All the bead work is done by hand. The beaded part of the design combines silver and green glass tube beads and this gives the set a subtle added sparkle. There is also a charming little silver beaded butterfly added on both sides of the poncho that I love. The pieces look amazing together and are also very versatile as they can be split up and worn separately. Excellent condition
Both pieces are unlined and slip on the wear. The pants have elastic through the waist. Hand finished and the fabric of both pieces are hand painted and have his logo screened into the silk as well. I have marked it suitable for a variety of frames as I feel on a smaller frame they just drape more.
Total Width: 25" from top to bottom on one side, 15" from top to bottom on the other side
Total length: 63" from side to side
Elastic waist: 12-18" from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 22" from side seam to side seam
Length: 43.5" from waist to bottom hem
Inseam: 31.5" from inner seam to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-LRG
Reference Photo: Cherie, Owner of Shrimpton Couture, by Erin Leydon.
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.