Beautiful & Rare Early 1960s Thea Porter Floral Print Coat Caftan Dress w Antique Cord Detailing
I have had tucked away in my archives for quite some time. This is it gorgeous little caftan dress that can play double duty as a light evening coat. It is a little extra special as I believe it is an early piece from her Greek Street shop in London that she opened in 1964. I was pleased to find a photo of a 1966 piece in a similar feeling vein in the 2015 book "Thea Porter: Bohemian Chic". by Laura McClaws Helms. These button front pieces that fully open down the front were especially loved for their versatility. Of all of Thea's pieces, her caftans have come to represent Thea's work like no other piece of her clothing that she designed. Elizabeth Taylor was a huge fan and collector. This one is just spectacular.
The caftan is very beautiful and is made from a stunning light cotton voile fabric. This fabric is extra special because it's actually signed along its edges and you can clearly see that on the inner seams. The fabric has a glorious floral print with a pink backdrop and then beautiful coral and pink flowers and green leaves run over the entire thing. Around the neck and across the upper back is an added antique gold metal cord embellishment. This goes all the way across the upper back and around to completely cover the shoulders. It then is set all the way down to the waist. It is amazing and it gives a caftan an elevated feel. Thea was known to hunt antique stores and markets during her extensive travels and use what she found in her designs and this is certainly a found antique textile. The dress buttons down the front almost to the hem and then the back has pleating for extra volume that falls from under the gold cording there. The sleeves are magnificent. They have their own lining and then the top layer of floral fabric falls over them and widens out an extremely wide cuff. The caftan is lined and the fabric over it is semi-transparent. This see-through quality gives the fabric depth and a floating feel over the inner lining. You can easily add a soft or structured belt to add shape if you wished and add even more to its versatility. I love that you can wear this in so many ways and one its own or over so many things. This is very special and are early piece of Thea's and it is also very beautiful. Excellent condition with a minor note below
Fully lined and slips on to wear and then buttons down the front. It's easy and open shape should allow it to fit a range of sizes. Finished by hand throughout. There is some wear, discoloration and shininess to the lining here and there and I see one older repair on the shoulder. Please see the shots after the label photo
Sleeves: 25" to the longest point and the inner lining is 13" around the upper arm
Bust: to 19" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: to 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 22" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 52" from neck to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-MED
Reference Photo: Actress Fenella Fielding in a paisley kaftan on a matching Chesterfield couch in the shop. Photographs from this series ran in every major UK tabloid. Greek Street, London, October 1966. Photograph by William Lovelace. From the book “Thea Porter: Bohemian Chic” by Laura McLaws Helms and Venetia Porter.
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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