bill blass

1972 Bill Blass Black Silk Taffeta Dress w Attached Silk Organza Skirt & Open Ruffled Back

I have dated this gorgeous Bill Blass dress by the shot of Lauren Hutton who was photographed in a shorter version of this dress for Vogue in 1972. This longer version has the same open back feature as that one has and it also has a beautiful organza skirt that snaps into place over the silk taffeta dress underneath. If you loved the look of the Vogue shot you could even add your own flower to the base of the back and recreate it. 

By 1972 Blass was only two years into running his own company after buying Maurice Rentner Ltd in 1970 and relaunching the label under his own name. Even then you could see just how strong a designer he was. The dress is  gorgeous and is made from combining a black silk taffeta base with a silk organza skirt that attaches over the inner dress. The fabric choices keeps the dress light in weight but it still helps to hold the shape and volume that you see and gives the dress some structure and shape. The front bodice has a more formal feel to it with a high neckline that is slightly scooped across the front and set wide. The sleeves are attached with a slight bit of volume at the tops of each shoulder and then narrow down to a ruffle finish at each cuff. Set along the neckline is a high ruffle that adds beautiful detailing. The ruffle then curves back and over each shoulder and extends down your back to completely frame the open cut out that leaves your back bare. I love this unexpected bare skin moment that is in stark contrast to the coverage at the front. The skirt deserves it own moment. The inner skirt is a part of the main dress and it is made out of the same silk taffeta as the bodice. It is cut longer at the back and then curves up at the front so that when you walk you see a bit of leg. The entire hem is finish with a wider band of ruffles that picks up on the ruffles at the neck and around the open back. Then there is a second skirt that snaps into place around the waist line. This layer is made out of a black silk organza and adds a beautiful light fullness to the skirts. It floats over the inner silk taffeta skirt of the dress with more ruffled edges that curve around and follow the hem. The photos on the dress form do not come close to doing it justice. This is a dress that needs an actual body in it and then it really comes to life. When you walk the organza layer catches the air and creates this stunning billowing effect and when you turn to leave you have that flash of bare skin. It is utterly amazing. Excellent condition

The bodice is lined in a layer of silk taffeta. The dress closes with a low set zipper at the back. There are zippers at each cuff. The organza skirt layer snaps into place around the waist. Hand finished throughout.

Sleeves: 25" including the 3" ruffle
Shoulders: 15"
Bust: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 12.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Bodice: 15.5" from top of shoulder to waist
Skirt in the dress: 43" from the waist to the back hem and 30" at the front
Detachable skirt: 46" from the waist to the back hem and 43.5" at the front 

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML

Item# DD2990

Reference Photo: Lauren Hutton in Bill Blass, by Irving Penn. Vogue US, January 1972.

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.