james galanos

1970s Galanos Couture Custom Made Silk Chiffon Pant w Metallic Lace Detailed Dress Set

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 set is an exquisite and very special example of his work.

This set was custom made for, and is from the estate of, 1950s model Betsy Pickering Kaiser. Betsy appeared on several Vogue covers in the 1950s and it was during that time period time period that she met Galanos. They were friends for over 60 years. She collected and wore Galanos pieces her entire life and was his friend and muse. He once told her husband ‘I would rather have Betsy wear my clothes than any other woman’. She was a constant presence on the International Best Dressed List and and was added to the Best Dressed Hall of Fame in the early 1970s.

This is gorgeous. It is made from a beautiful printed light weight silk chiffon that is combined with a red lace that has a metallic finish. The entire set combined weighs ounces. Huge flowers cover the entire surface of the silk chiffon. The pants are made from two layers of the chiffon and they are cut long and wide. An elastic waist makes them very easy and comfortable to wear. You then slip on that long piece over the pants. It is also constructed from two layers of silk that fall from under the lace bodice. Each side is slit open right up to the lace top. This gives the top piece a ton of movement and creates this fabulous floating effect around you when you walk. The bodice part is made of two panels of a metallic red lace that is connected along each side with a bit of a angled plunge above where they connect. The lace has that fantastic metallic finish to it for contrast against the pattern in the silk chiffon. The bodice has an inner nude silk lining so that from a distance you look like you are wearing nothing underneath it. The top is suspended by four tiny silk straps that curve over the shoulders. This set is tremendously good in person and it really needs an actual body to come to life. Cut supermodel long in length. Excellent condition

The pants are made of two layers of silk chiffon and close with a back zipper and elastic through the waist. The outer layer is lined with a nude silk chiffon through the bodice and the skirt is made from two layers of the silk. The outer layer closes at the side with hidden fabric covered snaps. There are a couple of very minor repairs and light snags near the hem of the overlay. This is a one-off, unlabelled custom piece made for Betsy and came from her estate. 

Over dress
Bust: to 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: to 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Length: 62" from shoulder to hem

Elastic waist: 15-18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 21" flat across from side seam to side seam
Pant: 45" from waist to hem
Inseam: 32" from inner seam to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: MED-LRG

Item# DD2278

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