Documented 1963-64 Sarmi Ivory Silk Chiffon Dress w Strapless Natural Mink Bodice & Chocolate Silk Bow
Ferdinando Sarmi was an actual Italian Count and started his design career working for the Elizabeth Arden couture salon during the 1950s. In 1959 he ventured off on his own and launched his label. He designed for just over a decade before closing up shop. During those ten or so years he was especially known for his evening wear. The fabrics he chose were often opulent or very difficult to work with. This dress was obtained from the same source as the other Sarmi listing today and I have included that one's reference photo from 1964 here. Since listing it we also found a 1963 photos of the dress in a different colour way. Both dresses were purchased at the same time for a mother and her daughter. I have also included a photo of them wearing this dress and the other.
The dress is very representative of its time period. It has beautiful lines with a very full skirt that is feather light due to its fabric choice of an ivory silk chiffon. Using the silk chiffon for the dress gives it a feeling of lightness and fantasy as it floats around you once on the body. You can get a sense of just how much movement it has in that wonderful reference photo I have added here. The very top layer of the silk has a hint of transparency to it that adds to the feeling of lightness that is created as it floats over the other inner layers of cream silks that make up the skirt. The bodice is strapless and fitted and has been completely covered in a natural mink that wraps around the wearer. It dips down at the front in a sweetheart neckline. The waist is accented with a large chocolate coloured silk ribbon that is finished in bow at the front. From there the skirt gently widens to a beautiful fullness in a cascade of silk. It is very light and airy feeling when on but inside the construction is immaculate with a full inner corseted foundation made of lingerie netting to keep it perfectly in place. Excellent condition
Fully lined in an ivory silk through the skirt and the bodice is finished in silk with an inner corset made of a cotton net. It closes with a back, hand set painted metal zipper. Hand finished. Made to demi-couture standards. There is some very minor grubbiness to the hem here and there.
Bust: 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 13" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 6" from top of bodice to top of band and the decorative band is then 2" wide
Skirt: 47" from top of band at the waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
Reference Photos: (1) F/W 1963 Sarmi, photo by Bert Stern. / (2) Brigitte Bauer in chiffon evening gown with mink bodice by Sarmi, photo by Howell Conant at the Lunar Fountain in New York's World Fair, 1964. Shown in Life Magazine, August 1964. / (3) Original client photo.
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.
I have a small collection of historically important, key designer labelled vintage furs and fur trimmed pieces stored away in my archives that I will be slowly posting on the site over the next couple of years until I have none left. I will no longer be buying furs for the shop moving forward and have not purchased anything for several years now. I feel like times have changed and while there still is a place for vintage furs for some, including collectors and historians, many modern girls are choosing other options. Many of the pieces in my collection are representative of the designer during a set time period in history that was different then our modern outlook. I have decided that the best course to handle this controversial issue is to let the pieces I have go rather then sit in a cold storage unit. Fur pieces are final sale.
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