c.1986-1989 Valentino Haute Couture Beautiful Blue Silk Chiffon Dress
The original owner of this dress wore it to host a dinner party in 1989 but I do not know if she had purchased it that same season or from a slightly earlier season. There are hints of it from both the 1986 collection in terms of some of the construction details and the 1988-89 collection in terms of color specifically. I have included reference photos for both those collections. Of course Haute Couture was always custom made for the client so would rarely be a specific copy anyway but it is nice to have a more narrow date range.
The dress is a stunning example of Valentino's work during this time period. It mixes a sense of restraint and elegance with the softness and sensuality that the silk gives it. You are entirely covered form neck to hem but the transparency of the silk through the billowing sleeves and upper shoulders hint at the skin underneath and keep the dress from feeling too demure. The bodice is a masterpiece in shaping and couture techniques. The silk here is entirely set and gathered by hand and immaculately stitched into place to create the soft pleats that curve over the bust and highlight your shape. Inside it is boned and shaped but not to the point where it feels constrictive, just so that it holds you in place and shapes you perfectly. The skirt flows out under that in four full layers of bias cut silk chiffon so that when you move the skirts seem to float around you. This is the type of gown that Valentino excelled at; refined elegance mixed with a luxurious fabric and finished with a master's touch of provocativeness and romance. The dress presents as excellent but does have some flaws. Please review the notes below.
The interior bodice is finished in muslin, lingerie netting, boned and molded through the bust. The sleeves and upper shoulders are unlined and the skirt is made from four full layers of silk. The interior bodice closes with series of hook and eye and the dress sips to close over that with a painted metal zipper. Each cuff buttons to close with two silk covered buttons and loops. Three buttons also sit at the top of the back neck just above the slit opening that starts just above the zipper of the corseted bodice. There are various discolored areas through the skirt that go through the layers. I have photoed the worst of them. There is so much fabric that once on these are almost invisible to the eye so it is wearable as is if you are OK with it being not 100% perfect. There are some very light faint versions of the same on the upper front above the corset and through the sleeves. I see one tiny repair near the hem at the back of the skirt. Priced well down from what it would be if perfect. Note for those that buy based on how it fits me that it was a little long through the bodice and big through the bust and waist on me.
Sleeves: approx 25"
Bust: 17.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 16.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 16.5" from top of neck to interior waist stay
Skirt: 45" from interior waist stay to hem
Matching ruffle edged shawl (photoed separately)
54" x 52"
Modern Sizing Equivalent: MED-LRG
Reference Photos: (1) From the book "A Grand Italian Epic, Valentino", 1988/1989 collection / (2-3) The "Degradè" Dress from the Valentino Haute Couture 1986 collection. (4) Cherie, Owner of Shrimpton Couture, by Erin Leydon taken on location at JohnMel Stables
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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