james galanos

Custom 1970s James Galanos Printed Silk Chiffon Evening Pant & Overlay Dress Set w Red Metallic Lace

Galanos was known as the designer that could rival the French in terms of construction and design. He launched his atelier in 1951 and although his atelier was never formally designated as Haute Couture by the French, he certainly produced clothing that met the parameters of couture and he is often referred to  as one of the great American couturiers. This set was custom made, and my client acquired it from the estate of 1950s model Betsy Pickering Kaiser. Betsy appeared on several Vogue covers in the 1950s and it was during that time period time period that she met Galanos. They were friends for over 60 years. She collected and wore Galanos pieces her entire life and was his friend and muse. He once told her husband ‘I would rather have Betsy wear my clothes than any other woman’. She was a constant presence on the International Best Dressed List and and was added to the Best Dressed Hall of Fame in the early 1970s. It is a wonderful thing to have such a beautiful piece of her history in the shop 

Betsy was a model and was tall and this set reflects that. It is cut to supermodel lengths and is beautiful. It is made of a beautifully printed, light weight silk chiffon that is combined with a metallic red lace. The entire thing weighs ounces and you will be delightfully shocked at how light it is in person. The silk has a washed water colour print with huge abstract flowers covering the entire surface of the silk. The pants are made of two layers of silk and weigh mere ounces. They are cut long and wide with an elastic waist that makes them easy to wear. Over that is a top piece that layers over the pants. The skirt part of this top piece is also made of two layers of silk chiffon. The silk falls from under the lace bodice to layer over the pants. Each side is slit open right up to the lace top. This gives it lots of movement and creates a light floating effect when you walk as the silk moves over the pants underneath. The bodice is made of two joined panels of red lace connected along each side. He placed them together in a way that leaves the sides in a low plunge to leave bare skin showing. This gives you barely there coverage and is very sexy. The lace has a metallic finish and is very fine and very light. I love how it is layered over a nude inner silk lining so that from a distance you look like you are wearing nothing underneath it. This entire top layer is suspended by four tiny silk straps that curve over the shoulders. The contrast between the silk and the metallic lace and the boldness of the colors is wonderful. Excellent condition

The pants are made of two layers of silk chiffon and close with a back painted zipper. They have elastic at the waist. The over dress is lined with a nude silk chiffon through the bodice and the skirt is constructed from two layers of the silk chiffon. The overlay closes on one side with hidden fabric covered snaps. There are a couple of very minor repairs and light snags near the hem of the overlay. This is a one-off, unlabelled custom piece made for Betsy and came from her estate. 

Over dress
Bust: to 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: to 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Length: 62" from shoulder to hem

Elastic waist: 15-18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 21" flat across from side seam to side seam
Pant: 45" from waist to hem
Inseam: 32" from inner seam to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: MED-LRG

Item# DD2278

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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