c.1977 Bill Gibb Couture Gold Lace Dress & Embroidered Evening Jacket Set
The twin of this gown resides in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum. They dated it with a general reference to the 1960s but I feel that it has more the feel of the 1977 collection as per the reference photo that I have provided here. Pieces at this level and beauty by Bill Gibb are extremely rare and it is a privilege to have such a gorgeous example of his work in the shop.
Bill Gibb was one of the most influential designers in 1970s Britain and his clothes were sought out and worn by the rich and famous. His work has a high fantasy element to it and he was crowned Designer of the Year in 1970. Much of his work verged on couture and he was unrelenting in striving for perfection. This dress set is simply amazing and a wonderful example of his work. It is made up of two pieces. The inner dress is amazing all on its own even without the piece that tops it. It has an empire cut with a halter style bodice that is suspended from the shoulders by two tiny straps. The fabric is a fine ivory netting that has a gold thread applied to it to form the lace pattern. This runs over the dress from the top of the shoulders to the hem. The pattern gets denser as it nears the hem and really makes the gold take center stage. The skirting of the dress has been finely pleated and the combination of those tiny pleats and the gold is incredibly beautiful and delicate in feel. It has a lining of the palest pink silk that gives the netting just a touch more of a pink feel to it in certain lights. Over this is a long, sleeved overlay or jacket, that is made out of a pale pink silk chiffon that has been embroidered by hand. It has four panels of fabric that split between each right up to the waist line of the dress. These sit on each at the front and then two more at the back. The opening between each panel so fabric allows the gold of the dress to show underneath when you move. The chiffon is a pale, dusty pink in color and the embroidery work on this outer layer is done in a combination of soft corals, mint and ivory. The tiniest little seed pearls detail parts of the design. All of the edges of the outer jacket are finished with gold lace. This is a rare and absolutely amazing piece that is even better in person. It would even make a beautiful choice for a bride who is looking for an alternative to the traditional wedding gown. Excellent condition with one minor note to review below.
The dress is fully lined in a pale pink silk and closes with a side metal and nylon zipper. The overlay is unlined and slips on to wear with hook and eye at the very top. Note that it was a bit tiny on my dress form and will fall even better on the proper sized girl. Museum quality and appears to have never been worn, or worn very little. There is one small storage spot on the front panel of the chiffon jacket near the lower edge that is shown on the photo after the label shot. The colors in person are softer and more of a true gold and very soft dusty pink.
Bust: to 16" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist at seam: 15" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips at inner lining: 19.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 13" from top of straps to empire waist seam
Skirt: 44" from waist seam to hem
Bust: to 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist- hips: open
Length: 52" from top of shoulder to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML
Reference Photos: (1) Tree Allen in Bill Gibb by Barry Lategan, 1977. / (2) Bill Gibb Set from the V&A Online 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.
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