james galanos

Brilliant 1957 James Galanos Large Floral Print Front Gathered Silk Evening Dress

In 1951, 27 year old James Galanos launched his first label called Galanos Originals.  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. That said, his ready-to-wear was made to almost true couture and were made with a level of craftsmanship that was on par with the French couturiers. Galanos was a master cutter and draper and he used many couture techniques in the construction of his dresses and gowns. Grace Kelly was an early fan. His work is held in all of the major museums around the world and he is one of my personal favourite designers. 

The label on this dress is one of his earlier ones and when researching the date I found a dress in the Met Museum's collection with the same label and that uses the same technique for the way that the skirt is set into the bodice of the dress. The dress in the Met's collection was also photoed for Vogue that year. I have included both those for reference and it gives you a great idea of how this dress will look on the body. In the Vogue description the skirt was described as being; 'narrow in outline, but with beautiful easy folds from the waist, falling in self contained spirals' which is a lovely way to describe the way that it is set into the dress. I love that my version has a more bare shouldered feel to it and how the bright floral print covers the entire dress and adds a real wow factor it. It also gives it a bit more of an easy, tropical feel then the more formal version held at The Met. The fabric is a beautiful light weight silk that is completely covered with the large flower print that you see. The colours in the print are spectacular and combine a bright orange, yellow and green on a black backdrop.The skirt is cut so that it gathers up and into the middle of the dress. This gives it that lovely curved line at the front and the draping down each side that you see. It also creates a touch of volume across each hip which makes your waist look smaller. The bodice is suspended by tiny straps made out of the same silk. The front has a wide set scooped neck and the back is the same. The back of the dress closes with a series of buttons that run from the nape of the neck to the waist with a zipper set under that. It is seriously gorgeous on and gives you curves while feeling very forgiving. It really showcases just what a genius he was. Excellent condition

Fully lined in a black silk chiffon. It closes with a low painted metal zipper at the waist and then has a row of buttons above that. Bias cut so there is a little play with the measurements which I have given below. It appears to have been worn very little if at all.

Bust: to 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: to 13" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Bodice: 15" from shoulder to waist
Skirt: 44" from waist to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD3555

Reference Photos: (1) F/W 1957 James Galanos Dress in The Met Collection.  /  (2) Model in James Galanos photographed by Irving Penn for Vogue, October 1957.

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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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.