Documented 1981 James Galanos One Shoulder Red Silk Dress w Trapunto Quilting Detail
In 1951, 27 year old James Galanos launched his first label called Galanos Originals. By 1954 he had won a Coty award and the Neiman Marcus award. By 1958 he was producing clothing that could range in price from $200 to $3000, an astronomical price for ready-to-wear for that time period. That said, his ready-to-wear was made to almost true couture standards and were made with a level of craftsmanship that was on par with the French couturiers. Galanos was a master cutter and draper and he used many couture techniques in the construction of his dresses and gowns. Grace Kelly was an early fan. His work is held in all of the major museums around the world and he is one of my personal favourite designers.
This particular dress has the added provenance that its twin was worn by Nancy Reagan on two separate occasions. The first time was at a party in London where she was photoed with Douglas Fairbanks Jr and Princess Grace of Monaco. She then wore it again to the premiere of Annie in 1982. It was obviously a favourite and for good reason. The dress is absolutely gorgeous. It has a long slim cut with just a suggestion of shape through the waist. As it nears the hem it widens out just a touch and there is a high slit on the side that the shoulder is bare on. This allows you to walk and also lets a flash of leg show when you move or sit. It is lined with a very fine, high end red silk that feels like heaven over your skin. The top is angled up and over the shoulder. It is cut wide at the top of the shoulder and this curves over you and then dips down to follow the same angle at the back. The edge of the neckline and the arm are both finished in a small ruffle of the same silk faille that the rest of the dress is made out of. For detail he has added a gorgeous design that follows the angle of the angled front and back. The design is done to suggest leaves and grapes perhaps. It was created by utilizing a trapunto quilting effect where two layers of fabric are used, the underside of which is slit and padded, to produce a raised pouf effect on the top layer. It is a tedious method that would have added several hours to the dress to do this by hand. The dress is stunning on and the reference photos of Nancy included here give you an idea of how much it transforms once on an actual body. Excellent condition
Fully lined in a red silk and closes with a zipper at the side. Ribbon edge inter seams. It appears to have been worn very little if at all. The colour in person is a little darker then how it photoed. In person it is between the colour of the shots here and the pics of Nancy in the reference photos
Bust: 17.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 15" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 56.5" from top of shoulder to hem with approx 2" turned under
Slit: 26.5 from hem up
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
Reference Photos: (1) Nancy Reagan with Douglas Fairbanks Jr and Princess Grace of Monaco at a party in London, 1981. / (2-4) Nancy Reagan at the premiere of 'Annie' at Radio City Music Hall in 1982.
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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