james galanos

Gorgeous 1960s James Galanos Meticulously Pleated Black Silk Chiffon Dress w Elaborate Belt

This is a spectacular example of Galanos and the evening dresses that he did so very well. James Galanos launched Galanos Originals in 1951. He was only 27 years old. By 1954 he had won a Coty award and the Neiman Marcus award. By 1958 he was producing clothing that could range in price from $200 to $3000, an astronomical price for ready-to-wear for that time period. When you covert to modern dollars the top end figure would be about $31,000 today. His ready-to-wear was made to couture standards and on par with the French couturiers of the time. Grace Kelly was a huge fan and his work is held in all of the major museums around the world. He is one of my personal favourites and this dress is fantastic.

The belt alone on this dress is what vintage dreams are made of. It is tacked all the way around the waist and it is this thick braided black cord that has rose of rhinestones attached to it. The belt has then been tied into big knots that are perfectly spaced from each other and then it ends in this elaborate silk fabric tassel that is unlike any tassel I have seen. It snaps into place at the front or you could wrap and tie it if you wished. It has such impact and it elevates the entire dress even more. The label on this dress is the one that dates from 1963-1977 and this is my personal favourite time period of his work. The fabric is a beautiful light weight black silk chiffon for the bodice and sleeves and then the skirt is a black silk jersey. The cut of the dress is incredible. The neckline is a slight scoop and then the dress skims over you to the waist. The waist is slightly dropped and seamed but a little more on the generous side and then the belt adds a touch of shape. The bodice is incredible. The entire thing has been done in tiny little knife pleats that are meticulously spaced and lined up. These run vertically down the front and the back. The very edge of the neckline has been piped with a tiny bit of silk for a finished look. It is just incredible to see and it is all done to the level of work that you are only going to find in vintage. The work is all done by hand. The sleeves are equally as fabulous. Each is made out of a single layer of the silk chiffon and are cut to be very full so that they balloon out over their cuffs. The sleeves are also pleated but in a wider pleat than the ones on the bodice. This gives some contrast to the pleating on the bodice and also allows the sleeves to fully open up and have the billowing fullness that you see. Even the cuffs are pleated and the pleating on each cuff perfectly matches the size of the pleats on the bodice. The skirt falls from the waist and is gathered in tiny delicate pleats all the way around the waist. This allows the skirt to flare and open out as it nears the floor. There is an incredible amount of fabric in it. The workmanship in this dress is fabulous It really showcases just what a genius he was. Excellent condition with a note below

Fully lined in a black silk through the bodice and closes with a back zipper. Each cuff button to close with little embroidered dome buttons. I see a repair near the hem of the skirt and I feel like the zipper sticks slightly. Please see the photo after the label shot. Hand finishes throughout and beautifully made

Sleeves: 22.5"
Shoulders: 15"
Bust: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 15" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Bodice: 17.5" from neck to waist
Total length: 56" from neck to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD4609

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Please review all measurements carefully. More often than not, vintage garments do not fit any size category exactly. If in doubt, measure a garment of your own that fits and is a similar cut and compare it's measurements to the listed measurements below.