1970s Louis Mies Haute Couture Off Shoulder Silk Taffeta Dress w Hand Made Lace Detailing
This dress comes to me from my same client whose aunt purchased from both the couture houses and Ady Couture while she was living in Switzerland during the eighties and into the nineties. Prior to that, during the late sixties and into the early 80s her aunt lived in both France and Brussels where she purchased pieces from Louis Mies along with the couture houses. Mies was a small independent couturier who did custom work for his clients to haute couture standards. He designed many pieces for the Queen of Belgium and like Ady, he had permission from several of the Haute Couture ateliers to produce their Haute Couture pieces and bought the fabric directly from them. I have some new information that he might have sold actual couture pieces through his salon as well. This dress bears a striking similarity to some of the 1977 Valentino couture collection pieces and I have included some of those iconic photographs here and if nothing else to show you how this dress will look on an actual body. It is absolutely unbelievable in person and one of my favourite personal pieces from her estate so far.
The level that this dress is made to is incredible. The fabric is a fine black silk taffeta and then parts of the design are edged in a beautiful French Chantilly lace. There are yards and yards of fabric used in the construction of this piece but once on the body it is all perfectly balanced. It sits off the shoulder to leave a bare expanse of skin showing that balances the volume of the dress below. I love the cut of the top. There is a six inch caped ruffle that wraps all the way around your shoulders and is edged with a 3.5" band of lace. Under that are extra extra wide sleeves. The width of the inner sleeves give the illusion of a layered caped detailing but they are actually true sleeves. Each sleeve is edged in that same lace to give the bodice a tiered effect from the side. The bodice is cut to skim over the body and then the waist is seamed to nip in for shape. I added a grosgrain ribbon to define the waist even more and this will be included. The skirt curves out from there and falls to the floor widening out to be very full as it nears the hem. The skirt is made up of three layers. The innermost layer is a full built-in black silk under-skirt that has wide bands of stiffened netting at the hem and then again part way up the skirt. These bands help to hold the volume. There are these little ruffled details that run along the seams where this inner layer is pieced together despite the fact that no one would ever see them. I love that. The second layer over that is made of black silk taffeta and it has two ruffled tiers at the hem that are both edged with black lace. The final top layer sits over both these and it curves up at the front to meet the seam at the waist. It is stunning. The dress is completely made by hand and I have included a couple of shots of one of the inner seams for you to see the amazing handwork. Excellent condition with a note below
Fully lined through the bodice in a black silk and the skirt is constructed as described above. It closes with a painted metal zipper at the back. Made by hand to couture standards. There are a couple small repairs / tiny holes on the ruffle on the neckline. There is so much fabric they get lost in the folds. Please see the final shot after the label. It otherwise looks unworn
Bust: to 19.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 14" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 15" from top of natural shoulder to waist
Skirt: 43" from waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
Reference photos: Valentino campaign 1977 shot by Deborah Turbeville
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