1980s Bernard Perris Black and White Kimono Plunging Caftan Dress
Bernard Perris did ready-to-wear at but his pieces always had the feel of couture to them. His work often verged on the theatrical and he himself defined his work as being 'more a nouvelle couture than a deluxe RTW. I found a quote that said he was often 'accused of cramming enough ideas for a dozen dresses into one garment, loading his designs with high voltage, eye-popping detail'. The eighties were a high point and the couture crowd would often order several of his dress while in Paris for their couture fittings. His label shuttered in the early 1990s, after which he was appointed as the couture and haute couture designer for the Paris house of Jean-Louis Scherrer from 1994-1998.
This dress is a a show stopper and yet for Bernard, rather restrained. The fabric is a beautiful black silk crepe that has a chevron design in white. Each row of white is actually made up of printed white dots that form that wonderfully design over the fabric. This graphic feel make the already dramatic dress even more striking. The front has a sharp collar and a plunging neckline that goes straight down to the waist. Notches on either side of the waist allow the wide belt to pass though and give the feel of a cinched in waist at the front. Under that belt the dress is gathered in an intricate gathering so that you don't have fabric ruched up and bulky. The sides and back of the dress are left completely full and voluminous. It sweeps out and the skirt has an incredible amount of fabric in it. You could play with how you belt it to create different feels and where the volume is. Changing the belt to a different color would give it an entirely different feel. Each sleeve is cuffed and set from the waist out so you get volume above the waist as well. Its also cut very, very long. This is a dress that really comes to life on a body. The photos on the mannequin do not do it justice at all and in person it is wonderful. Overall excellent with some small notes to review below.
Unlined and slips on. Pockets hidden along the front of the skirt. The belt slips through open slits at each side of the waist. The belt itself hooks to close and has elastic near the closures so is very comfortable to wear. The hooks have been moved and you can see where the old hooks were placed. You don't see this when the dress is one and it would be the underside of the belt anyway. Each cuff buttons to close. Note that one button on one cuff is missing. There are also a couple of areas of discoloration - one on the back of the right sleeve and the other is faint and just under the gathers on the waist. Both are photoed and are shown after the label photo. I see a smudge near the hem as well (not photoed as it is very faint) and a repair to the seam near the belt opening. With the incredible yardage of fabric in this one you can easily wear this and never notice any of these. The easy fit will allow this to fit a range of sizes and it is meant more for a larger frame
Sleeves: approx 26" but there are no defined shoulder seams
Shoulders: no defined shoulder seams
Bust: open with no true side seams
Waist- hips: open
Length: 63" from neck to hem
Belt: 29" -33" and does have stretch and room for more hooks
Modern Sizing Equivalent: MED- XL
Reference Photos: Cherie, Owner of Shrimpton Couture, by Erin Leydon.
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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