Rare c1958 Jean Desses Green Silk Elaborate Pleat Dress
Jean Desses opened his 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 very rare from either of his lines. When he expanded his atelier to serve the overseas market in the late 1950s, he was among the small elite group of designers that sold to the American power house department stores 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 by 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 and from what I have found in my research, each piece was made to order making them demi-couture garments.
This is a spectacular example of his work and had it had the Atelier label the price on this piece would have a "1" in front of it or even be higher. It is instantly recognizable as a Desses and utilizes his signature, elaborate pleat work in its construction. The fabric is a vivid green silk chiffon of very fine quality and an extremely hard fabric to work into pleats like this one has been. The dress hugs the body and wraps it in the pleats from bust to below the hip, all cut to follow and highlight every curve. It has a squared off bodice with bodice and back is scooped and highlighted with a panel of draping fabric. The skirt swings out from under the pleats and gives the dress beautiful movement. At the back the skirt is an absolute marvel of construction. A panel trails out and down the back, widening as it nears the hem and perfectly off-setting the gorgeous draped pleating that wraps the hips. This is a stunning example of his work at his very best and showcases some of his strongest signatures. Presents as excellent condition with some notes below.
Fully interlined with a green silky rayon. It closes with a painted metal back zipper with hand finishes and hand draped pleating. Light boning through the side of the bodice and inner waist stay that closes with hook and eye. There are some small flaws that I have captured. Light marks under each arm are present with a slight shattering to one side along the upper edge. There are some spots on the back inner skirt and also on the fabric panel that runs down the back. The price reflects these. It is strong and wearable as is.
Bust: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 12" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 45" from shoulder to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.