Documented Fall 1977 Halston Cashmere Sky Blue Dress w Extra Long Attached Wrap Ties
This is a very rare and beautiful example of Halston's work using cashmere during this time period. He was a master at combining function and ease but without sacrificing glamour. He did this with the absolute minimum of seaming that a garment required. His bias cut knit pieces sometimes feel and look somewhat shapeless on the hanger or dress form and it is only when they are slipped on that they drape and settle into place the way they were intended. They seem so very simple but they are not. Halston used 4-8 ply cashmere for these pieces and that high quality shows. I have included a reference photo of a campaign photo from 1977 that shows a jumpsuit version in the same brilliant blue as this piece has been done. Recently, variations of his work in cashmere were featured in the Museum at FIT exhibit 'Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s'. In their exhibit notes they mention these cashmere pieces specifically: 'Halston’s use of historical elements to create new collections was sparing. Rather than re-interpret the designs of those who came before him, he made subtle allusions to those designers whose work he most admired. He was inspired by body-revealing activewear and the sinuous, bias-cut gowns of Madeleine Vionnet from the 1930s, while primary influences from the 1940s included the cashmere sweater sets of Mainbocher and the ingenious ties and closures employed by Claire McCardell'
This dress has the added provenance of being specifically dated. In addition to the Halston tag it also has a hand written custom order label from Bergdorf's that states the clients name and gives us the exact order date of the dress - November 9, 1977. The dress is exceptional. It is in its original extra long length and falls from the shoulders in a column of the fine cashmere. The sleeves are long and simple and the dress is cut to skim over you from the bust to the hips before starting to widen out gently as is nears the hem. The front neckline is done in shallow v and the ties extend out from the band that runs along the neckline. One tie is notched and then the other tie slips through that to cross over the tie without adding any bulk. The ties are very long and you can then wrap and tie them as you wish. I think you could easily wrap them around the body even more then I have done and you could also just loop then to the back and tie then just once if you wanted a more caftan feel. Basically, the ties give you full control on just how fitted you want the dress to feel. In the book 'Halston; An American Original' they talk about Halston's cashmere pieces and quote Polly Mellen as saying: "His cashmere pieces to the floor... weren't just tubes: they had armholes, were neat on top, yet very cozy and at the same time elegant". It is said that they were inspired by a close associate that was a dance instructor and were intended to give the body complete freedom. The colour on this one is truly amazing and it is just gorgeous. It is a rich sky blue that is even better in person. It is the kind of color that will flatter most skin tones. These brilliantly created, more colorful examples of his work are not as easy to find for Halston anymore and this dress is an amazing and rare piece of fashion history. It is also remarkable in that it is in great condition. It has a couple of tiny flaws but they are minor. So many of his cashmere pieces that you find now are not and a piece this good and in this condition is a true find. Great condition with notes to review below.
Unlined and slips on to wear. It is made from 100% cashmere made in Italy. Tagged a size S . Because it is knit it has stretch and will fit a variety of sizes. I have given the comfortable range of stretch while it is lying flat in the measurements below. You could probably go a little beyond that range listed depending on how fitted you wanted it. I see some minor small marks on it here and there. They are faint and light. I also see a few small repairs that you really only see if inspecting from the interior. I took a shot of one on the shoulder so you can see how minor it is from the exterior. Please see the shots after the label shot.
Sleeves: approx 26"
Shoulder: no true shoulder seam
Bust: 17-20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 16-18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 18-22" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: approx 60" from neck to hem and the ties that extend from the neck are over 70" long
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-MED
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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