c.1972 LaVetta Plunging Front and Back Silk Scarf Print Caftan Dress
In 1979 LaVetta was featured in Ebony magazine (click here to see it on our blog) and in that article she says "We're known for the dramatic drop dead entrance". Dresses cost upwards to $10,000 when they were produced, which was a remarkable price tag in 1979. At the time she was "the only black person designing and marketing her own line" according to that Ebony article. Legend has it that it was the scarf dress that relaunched her business after the heyday of the sixties and Hollywood glamour had ended. Her business had died out by 1970 and she sat, dead in the water for two years, until a friend showed up one day in a thrifted dress made out of scarves that she had found in Europe. LaVetta made her own version, a buyer from Neiman Marcus snapped it up, she begged and borrowed money to meet the order, and boom, she was back in business.
The sleeves are cut wide and full, in a manner that gives a nod to the kimono sleeve. Both the back and the front plunge quite low and it is cut so that the weight of the lower skirts keep it perfectly in place despite the lowness of the cut. The skirt is magnificent and literally has a full 360 degree sweep. This gives it incredible volume and movement. This one falls to just above the ankles or perhaps a little higher depending on how tall you are. The scarf printed silk that is used is light in weight and has wonderful drape as a result. The various prints and the way it is mixed over the silks is magnificent. Each of these dresses are entirely unique, with no two having the same mix of patterns and colors. Excellent condition with one small note to review below
The top portion is unlined and the skirt has an inner lining of a lingerie weight stretch nylon. No closures - it slips over the head to wear. The caftan/kimono like cut will fit a variety of sizes. There is a little bit of stress to the fabric near the edge on both the front and back. I have photoed both sides and these are shown after the label photo. Longer versions I have had in the past had a hand finished edge and this one does not so I suspect it was shortened for the height of its owner. That and the stress marks on the neckline allowed me to price this one quite a bit less then I normally would so its an incredible steal
Sleeves: approx 19"
Shoulders: no defined seam
Bust: variable as there are no defined side seams
Empire waist: to 17.7" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 22" flat across from side seam to side seam of the inner skirt lining
Bodice: 11" from neck to mid waist
Skirt: 42" from waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-MED
Reference Photo: 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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