michael novarese

Classic 1970s Michael Novarese Black Silk Chiffon Dress w Balloon Sleeves & Pleating Details

Michael Novarese was an American designer based out of California who designed dresses for many of the Hollywood stars during the sixties and seventies including Jane Russell, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Dinah Shore and Elizabeth Taylor to name just a few. He launched his label in 1957 with just 8 dresses and landed a deal with Saks. He focused on creating high end pieces that always started from the fabric. He was a master at picking beautiful fabrics and used proper couture sewing techniques in his design. He especially loved a good sleeve so this dress is a great representation of his work with the dramatic sleeves that is has. By the 1970s he was selling dresses upwards of $1000-$2500 which is about $7000- $18000 in modern dollars. 

Once on the body this dress glides into place spectacularly. The fabric is a feather light black silk chiffon. The upper shoulders and sleeves are a single layer of the chiffon and I love how this gives them a touch of transparency. The neckline is simple with no collar. It is finished with a piping in the same fabric and this extends into ties at the front. These tie into place above a small open keyhole. The shoulders are soft and the sleeves are spectacular. Each is a very full balloon sleeve that billows out above a piped cuff. You can see how good they are in the photos and they are even better in person. The dress is cut to simply skim over the bust and then it is seamed through the waist. The silk of the bodice is gathered into the waist, Under that it is pleated in little sets of three flat pleats all the way around the top of the hips. The skirt swoops out under the pleats to falls in a soft swing that allows for beautiful movement when you move. You could also add a belt on this one to change up the look and add more shape. It is a stunning. Excellent condition with a minor note below

The body of the dress is lined in a black silk and it closes with a back hidden set zipper. Each sleeve hooks to close and there is a tie at the neck. I see some grubbiness and minor discoloration along the inner edges of the arms and inner lining. Nothing shows on the exterior. Hand finishes

Sleeves: approx 26" and 14" around the upper arm 
Shoulders: no true defined seam
Bust: to 17-19" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: to 14.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 19" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 16" from neck to waist
Total Length: 44" from top of the shoulder to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED


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