michael novarese

Beautiful 1970s Michael Novarese Ribbon Weave Silk Chiffon Bright Floral & Metallic Dress

Michael Novarese was an American designer based out of California who designed dresses for many of the Hollywood stars during the sixties and seventies including Jane Russell, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Dinah Shore and Elizabeth Taylor to name just a few. He launched his label in 1957 with just 8 dresses and landed a deal with Saks. He focused on creating high end pieces that always started from the fabric. He was a master at picking beautiful fabrics and then made his garments using proper couture sewing techniques. He especially loved a good sleeve so this dress is a great representation of his work with the dramatic sleeves that is has. By the 1970s he was selling dresses upwards of $1000-$2500 which is about $7000- $18000 in modern dollars. He never did a less expensive line like most of his contemporaries did so all of the pieces found by him are from his main line and are beautiful made.

The best of his pieces have a slight renaissance style to them which is a nod to his Italian heritage. This is a wonderful example of how fabulous his work could be. The dress has a soft and flowing feel to it yet it is fitted through the waist and constructed to be flattering on the body and give you shape. It is made of a silk chiffon that has a ribbon weave fused directly into the silk. This gives it a thatched woven effect. In between the ribbon weave the silk is semi-transparent and the play between the two opacities is stunning in person. The entire dress is backed with a black silk chiffon lining and that gives the more transparent parts a backdrop so that the colours in the silk really pop. To highlight the design even more, the fabric has both wide and thin stripes of gold thread worked through the silk. These catch the light and give the dress a shot of high glamour. The bodice is cut straight across the neck and then it skims over you to the waist. The sleeves are spectacular. They are cut with a slightly puffed feel at the top of each shoulder. They are very full and then are cuffed in at the elbow. The waist nips in and the skirt flows out from there to the floor. Yards of silk are used in the skirt and it is very full when you move. There is a simple grosgrain ribbon that ties at the  waist to add some shape. The dress is very well made and even better in person. On an actual body where the fabric can really move and flow it is fantastic. Excellent condition.

The bodice and skirt are lined in a black silk with an additional interlining of black silk organza through the skirt. That same silk organza lines the sleeves. It closes with a back painted metal zipper. It appears to have been worn very little if at all.

Sleeves: approx 19"
Bust: 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 14.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Bodice: 15" from shoulder to waist
Skirt: 43" from waist to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD1612

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.