c1968 Thea Porter Embroidered Ivory & Brocade 'Faye' Dress
In the book that accompanied the Thea Porter exhibit of which I lent a dozen Thea Porter pieces to, author Laura McLaws Helms describes the Faye dress: "...the Faye dress was high-necked with flowing sleeves, a full skirt and tight bodice. named for her client, the American actress Faye Dunaway, it was usually made of a sheer georgette in a rainbow of colors with a panel of antique brocade covering the chest.... The Faye was continually remade in several variations from 1968 onwards, and was a notable success. Porter reminisced later that: "One night at Elaine's in New York I saw Betty Bacall and Jane Fonda both wearing the Faye dress, luckily in different colors." Constructed from white lace, the Faye dress made for the ideal wedding gown; Thea described the dress as 'nun-like and all-enveloping', yet the transparency of the fabric revealed more then the cut supposed - balancing the design cleverly between modesty and romanticism."
This version of that iconic Faye dress has been made from a light silk voile in ivory that is completely covered in a swirling embroidered pattern that gives it an extra layer of texture and detailing. The fabric has a touch of transparency to it and is very beautiful. It also gives the dress that exact touch of exposure that Laura describes above. The sleeves are cut wide and full and each is edged with a double row of a turquoise blue velvet trim. Two matching bands of velvet also circle the lower portion of the hem. The neckline is cut high and the entire bodice is detailed by an antique silk brocade panel. Thea often incorporated antique fabrics into her work and this gold and blue metallic panel works perfectly here. At the back is an unexpected bit of sexiness as the entire length from neck to waist is left open in a elongated key-hole that runs between the hook & eye at the neck and the closure at the waist. The dress is absolutely stunning and an outstanding example of Thea's work and of this style of dress in particular. Excellent condition.
Fully lined in a fine light off-white silk except for the sleeve and back of the panel at the bodice which are both unlined. The dress slips over the head to wear with a hook and eye at the back of the neck and another at the waist. Hand finishes throughout. Museum quality
Sleeves: approx 20"
Inset shoulders: 12"
Bust: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 16" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 15" from top of bodice to waist
Skirt: 43" from waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML
Reference photos: Both from the book "Thea Porter, Bohemian Chic" Laura McLaws Helms and Venetia Porter. Photo 1: (left) Susanne Elliott at her wedding in a lace Faye dress with long scalloped veil, Lincoln, 1970. (right) Lace Fate dress worn by Susan Elliot, held at the V&A. Photo 2: A Faye dress from 1970, held at the V&A
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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