1950s Sybil Connolly Ribbon & Crochet
The exterior of the dress is fashioned out of black ribbon and crocheted rosettes. Every one of those rosettes has been hand applied into place and the ribbons woven and crossed through to form that beautiful exterior. The base is a block heavy grade silk and the inner construction is as close to couture as you can get. This would be a early piece from her and the rarer example of her crochet work. The pure hours it would have taken to construct this dress and make this fabric by hand are astounding.
I have had this in my possession for quite some time and I acquired and was told that it had been custom made by Sybil for its original owner and had never had a label put in as a result - common practice then. You can see this exact construction technique used in a sleeveless verion of this Connolly dress sold at Christies in 2009:
The lot notes there state:
Typical of Sybil Connolly's innovative use of Irish traditional handcrafts in her couture, the hand-crocheted rosettes are both charmingly old fashioned and very elegant.
I can not help but agree with that staement - it is really astounding to see the craftsmanship put into this piece! I would consider the dress I have listed here to be in mint condition - it appears to have been unworn. Truly a piece of history and a work of art. A superb example of her work.
Bust: 17" flat across the back from side seam to side seam
Waist: 12" from side seam to side seam
Hips: 18" flat across the back from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 15" from shoulder to waist seam
Skirt: 26" from waist to bottom hem
The dress is fully lined in black silky rayon with silk banding applied to all the inner edges by hand for comfort and closes at the back with a painted metal zipper. It also has a inner grosgrain ribbon hand set at the waist with hooks to close. All the applique work is done by hand - you can see the stitching on the reverse side. The rosettes are also hand crocheted. and the ribbon hand woven over the fabric and around the rosettes. Many couture level finishes.
Note that it does do up at the back but is too small to be able to do this on my mannequin. It closes at the back to the top of the neck and there are no issues with closing it! It is also pure black - the slightly purplish tones are caused by lighting only - the dress is black and perfect.
Modern Sizing equivalent: XS-SML (2-6)
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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