geoffrey beene

Documented Fall 1984 Geoffrey Beene Couture Silver Grey & Black Silk Dress w Metallic Chiffon Ties

Geoffrey Beene was one of the great American fashion designers and he was recognized for both his artistic and technical skills. He launched his label in 1963 and a piece from his very first collection landed the cover of Vogue. A Coty award followed a year later and in 1984 the Council of Fashion Designers created the annual Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement award in honor of Beene's fashion legacy. This dress is from the Fall 1984 collection and we found an amazing editorial photo of it in the September issue of Vogue that year. It is one of my favourite things in the shop and it is even better in person. 

I am completely in love with this dress. It is so representative of his work and is just a gorgeous little dress in its own right. The silk that he chose for the dress is a fine silk taffeta that holds the volume and shape that he wanted while still keeping the dress light and airy feeling once on the body. The colour are a blend of a silver toned grey with a large black floral print over it. The sleeves are puffed and they have lots of volume built into them. The neckline is high and the bodice is cut to to be more fitted. Into the silver silk taffeta below the neckline there is an inset made out of a semi-transparent silk that has a metallic lame finish. This angles up into a peak at the front and then wraps around the sides. It goes from the top of the peak in height right down to the waist seam. Set along the angle of the front peak is a long panel of the same metallic silk chiffon. These extend out into extra extra long ties. You cross them over each other and then you can wrap them around your body. For the shots here I have tied them at the back but they are long enough that you could wrap them around you and tie at the front as well. Depending on how you tie them you will get a glimpse of skin through the inner front panel. You can style the ties to take advantage of that and show more of the transparent panel or tie them so that it completely covers it for a fully opaque feel. This play on transparent cut-outs is a staple of Beene's work as he progressed into the nineties and I love seeing it in this earlier piece. Below the waist the skirt falls to the floor in a cascade of silver and black. There are many yards of silk that have been used to construct the skirt so when you move you can really get a sense of its fullness. You could probably add an underskirt if you wanted it to be even fuller. Underneath the top layer of the skirt is built in silk chiffon underskirt that is edged  in a wide panel of black lace. The lace is finished with a curving scalloped edge and when you move or sit you get just a peek of it from underneath. Square polished buttons down the back are the perfect finishing touch. It is gorgeous. Appears to have never been worn or worn very little. Excellent condition.

The skirt is fully lined in a black silk chiffon that is edged with a wide panel of scalloped black lace at the hem. The bodice is also lined in a black silk chiffon. It close with a series of buttons down the back and a low back zipper at the waist. The inner waist hooks to close. Each sleeve has elastic in its cuff and they are cut wide and easy. The ties are attached at the front as described above. It appears to have never been worn or worn very little.

Shoulders: no defined seam
Bust: 18" flat across the back from side seam to side seam
Seam at low waist: 13.5" flat across the back from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Bodice: 16" from shoulder to low waist seam
Skirt: 40" from waist seam to bottom hem

Modern Sizing equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD1904

Reference Photo: Vogue, September 1984.

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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