1981 Yves Saint Laurent Silk Taffeta Dramatic Pouf Sleeve Dress
This Yves Saint Laurent dress is remarkable. The designs for pieces like this often built on previous Haute Couture collections and you can see the influence and progression from the famous Russian collection in its lines. As time progressed, Yves exaggerated those lines used for the 1977 collection and by 1981 the sleeves were far more dramatic. Similar dresses from that year were photoed for various editorials and I have included two of those shots here for reference.
The dress is made from a combination of two of his signatures fabrics, a silk taffeta and a silk velvet. The sleeves are very dramatic. Each is cut to be very wide and full with a huge pouf starting at the shoulder to the elbow. Below that the black velvet tapers gracefully to the wrist where it buttons along the cuff with four glossy dome buttons and loops. The top is cut easy through the body, is seamed at the waist and then the velvet extends down over the top of the hips. It has an attached silk sash to cinch the waist in and add shape. The skirt is extremely full and falls to the floor in a gently widening curve under the velvet banding at the hips. The photos do not really do the amount of fabric in the skirt full justice. I also absolutely love that the inner layer of the skirt is a contrasting muted red silk. You don't really see that inner layer when you are standing, but when you sit or move just right, you get that extra flash of color. It's a small detail that I absolutely love. The choice of the silk taffeta as the primary fabric allows the dress to still be fairly light in weight despite the layers. It also helps to retain its shape and fullness. It is wonderful. Pieces by Yves from this time period have become an important piece of fashion history. Excellent condition.
Fully lined through the bodice in a black silk satin. The skirt is lined in a deep red silk taffeta and the sleeves are unlined. It closes at the side with a metal and nylon zipper and each cuff buttons to close. The sash is attached at the back. Slight sheen to the velvet along the seam at the back. Tagged a vintage YSL 40.
Bust: 17.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 14" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 17" from shoulder to waist
Skirt: 43.5" from waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
Reference Photo: (1) 1981 Yves Saint Laurent Runway. / (2) Model in Yves Saint Laurent, credit unknown.
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.
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