Spring 1998 Valentino Haute Couture Strapless Dress w Beaded & Sequin Inner Skirt
After much research I have narrowed this down to being a version of the dress that walked the 1998 Haute Couture Runway. It is very similar and you could easily see how a client could have modified that dress to become the one that we see here. It is not unusual for a client to have a dress completely customized to her in that world afterall. The cut and feel are so alike and everything else about the dress feels like Mr. Valentino's work during this time period. It is absolutely exquisite and the cut and fit are the sheer perfection that you would expect from a gown made to this degree.
This may be the perfect black dress. It mixes Valentino's unwavering sense of elegance with the high standards of Haute Couture. The dress is strapless with a fitted and sculpted bodice that wraps the wearer in wide flat pleats that are curved, placed and set by hand. The bodice is a masterpiece in shaping and couture techniques. The fabric has been shaped and molded by hand and immaculately stitched into place to create the soft pleats that curve over the bust and highlight your shape. Inside it is boned and shaped with an inner corset. The corset holds the dress perfectly in place but not to the point where it feels constrictive, just enough so that it shapes you perfectly. The pleats cross over the bust and wrap around the back. There they are sculpted into place and they fall to become a part of the skirt, overlapping the panel that comes from the front. This same technique is used at the front, but there the panel that extends into the skirt does not wrap over the other panel but is set more open to show the inner skirt off to its full advantage. The inner skirt is slim cut and falls to the floor. It is made of a silk netting, backed by silk chiffon, and the netting is completely covered with the finest bead and sequin work that I have seen. This is certainly the workmanship of Lesage and would have been made completely by hand - worked that would have taken hours and hours and hours. What is truly incredible is that the entire inner skirt is finished with this hand done bead and sequin work even though you only see a touch of it from the front. In the second last photo before the inner bodice photos I lifted the back outer panels to show you how the inner skirt is finished all the way around. That is the level of work that you see only in couture. This is the type of gown that Valentino excelled at. A refined elegance mixed with a luxurious fabric and finished with a master's touch of provocativeness and romance. The dress appears to have never been worn, or worn very little. Excellent condition
The inner skirt is fully backed in a silk chiffon. The outer panels of the skirt are unlined. The inner bodice has a full couture level netted corset and this is boned and cupped. The bead work extend all the way up to just under the bodice on the inside. There is a zipper to close the corset and it also has a hooked waist stay. Another zipper lies over this to close the outer layer. Completely finished by hand work throughout.
Bust: to 17.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Inner waist: 14.25" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 19" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 10" from top of bodice to inner waist seam
Skirt: 40" from inner waist seam to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
Reference Photo: Valentino Spring 1998 Haute Couture Collection
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.