bill gibb

1976 Bill Gibb Couture Pleated Silk Chiffon Skirt w Extravagant Metallic Embroidered Silk Net Coat

Bill Gibb was one of the most influential designers in 1970s Britain and his clothes were sought out and worn by the rich and famous. His work has a high fantasy element and he was crowned Designer of the Year in 1970. Much of his work verged on couture and he was unrelenting in striving for perfection. A dress from this same 1976 collection was photoed on Tina Chow by David Bailey for Vogue. I have included those reference photos here and you can clearly see the same ribbon detailing and pleating technique used on both pieces. His pieces were never produced in large quantities and this one is exceptional. I would not be surprised to find out that it was a one off and a custom piece. It is wonderful to have such a gorgeous example of his work in the shop.

This is an amazing example of his work. It is made up of two pieces. Inside there is a very long full length skirt. Over that sits that fantastic evening coat piece that has a built in silk part on the top and then flows to the ground in a cloud of netting. The inner skirt is beautiful. It is made out of a fine silk chiffon with a soft pink silk lining. The top layer of silk is knife pleated so that it has a lot of movement. It is detailed around the hem with a pretty ribbon finish made up of three stripes of silk satin ribbon in a pale blue, a pink and a mint green. This sits under the evening jacket that has a built in top that is made out of silk. The same striping detailed that the skirt has is used to edge the inner portion of the top. So you see the stripes on the skirt and the top through the netting of the jacket and it adds depth. The inner top is made from the same silk and chiffon combination as the skirt and treated with that same knife pleating technique. Attached and layered over that is the netted part. It is here that the high couture fantasy aspect of the piece goes into full play. The neckline is cut wide across so it almost sits off the shoulder. The fabric on this outermost layer is a fine ivory netting that has a stunning design of flowers and vines hand embroidered over it that covers it from shoulder to hem. I love how the pattern gets denser as it nears the hem. Each bit of that design is hand embroidered with a multi-colored pastel thread that has a metallic silver running through it. It is like wearing a work of art. The combination of the embroidery work and the metallic of the silver is incredibly beautiful and delicate in feel. All of the edges are finished with silver cording and there is a long tie of the same silver cording at the neck. The sleeves are even more incredible. They are cut extra long and each has an inner pleated base made out of a pale pink silk chiffon that is knife pleated like the skirt and inner top. Over this is a slightly more ivory toned silk netting that poufs out from the shoulder and is caught up just below the elbow. It then flares back out, widening as it reached the end of the sleeve. Each sleeve is densely hand embroidered with that same metallic thread as the body of the jacket. Long silver cords hang down from the seam at the elbow. No matter how much you might love the photos this one is even better in person. The workmanship in it has to be seen in person. It would even make a beautiful choice for a bride who is looking for an alternative to the traditional wedding dress or as a part of a wedding event. Excellent condition

Both piece are fully lined in a pale pink silk. The skirt closes with a metal and nylon zipper. The top slips on to wear with snaps and hook and eye at the very top of the inner most silk part. The colours in person are softer and bit more pink feeling in person. There is some light fading to one side of the skirt near the closures but its very minor. 

Skirt
Waist: 13.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips at inner lining: to 20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 44" from waist seam to hem

Top/Overlay
Sleeves: approx 31"
Shoulder opening: approx 17"
Bust: to 18.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist- hips: open
Length: 25" from top of shoulder to hem of inner top, 58" from shoulder to the full length hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD3081

Reference Photos: (1-2) Tina Chow in an ensemble by Bill Gibb. Photographed by David Bailey for British Vogue, April 1976.  /  (3-4) 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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