Runway Spring 1994 Balmain by Oscar de La Renta Haute Couture Baby Blue Corset Dress
In 1993 Oscar de la Renta took over as Creative Director at Balmain where he designed the Haute Couture collections until 2002. The house had been floundering at that point and he had a huge impact on the reviving the sales of the couture pieces, mainly by catering to private clients, much like Balmain had originally. It is extraordinary to think that Oscar never produced a Haute Couture line under his own label and these few short years at Balmain gives us a chance to see just how talented he really was at all levels. I was very pleased to be able to fully document this dress with its photo on the runway and we even found one that shows the twin of this dress just behind Oscar for the finale of the show.
Like most Haute Couture, this is a dress that only truly comes to life when it is on an actual body. No matter how good it looks in the photos, the impact it has in real life and how it moves once on is undeniably beautiful. You can see in the runway shots that the dress sits lower on the sides of shoulders then where it sits on the dress form and this simple difference changes the look of it tremendously. The fabric is a fine silk in a pale baby blue that gives it the weight it needs to perfectly hold and to shape you through the bodice. The dress is sleeveless with wide straps that curve up and off the shoulder. It is fitted to be like a corset with built in boning and seaming to shape you. The neckline is scooped at the front and dips into a V at the back. There are attached underskirts to hold the volume of the skirt and if you wanted even more there is room to add a crinoline. The bodice is shaped with long vertical seaming that curves into the dipped waist seam. At the back it closes with a corset detailing and matching coloured ties. The skirt is set along the waist seam in a series of big soft inverted pleats that give you this lovely curve around the top of the hips. Then as they open out the volume of the skirt is achieved to give it the incredible volume that you see. Each layer of the fabric is light but when all the layers, and the sheer volume of fabric that has been used, is combined the overall weight of the dress is substantial and it feels like a couture piece. You can see how stupendous this is one in the runway photos and the massive sweep that the skirt has. This comes to me from one of his the original couture clients. This dress is definitely a dress that could walk a carpet and it would also make an amazing dress for the bride looking for a non-traditional choice or as an alternative dress in a more extended wedding celebration. Excellent condition with a minor note below
Fully hand lined in a pale blue silk through the bodice. The skirt has an inner silk lining and then two layer of tulle over that and a partial layer around the inner hips. Hidden boning and corseting through the bodice. It closes with a hidden inner zipper, a half zipper at the exterior waist and then laces to close over that. A waist stay inside that hooks to close and a second hooked stay above that this sits just under the bust. Hand finished through out to Haute Couture standards. Proper couture tag present Couture tape #172438. I see some teeny marks on the grommets which would be a natural part of normal use. One yellowish mark near the seam above the hem. A couple of very faint marks here and there near the hem. A small lightened spot on the front edge of the center fold. All of which you only see if you lay it out flat and look for them. Perhaps a slight darkening under the arms but it very faint and only in very bright light. Please see the photos after the label shot
Bust: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Inner corset waist: 13-14" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 14.5" from top of shoulder to side waist
Skirt: 44" from side waist to hem with 3.5" turned under the hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
Reference Photos: Spring 1994 Pierre Balmain Haute Couture Runway.
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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