Dramatic 1981 Yves Saint Laurent Iridescent Purple Silk Taffeta Gigot Sleeve Dress
This Yves Saint Laurent dress is remarkable. The designs for pieces like this often built on previous Haute Couture collections and you can see the influence and progression from his earlier Russian collection in its lines. As time progressed, Yves exaggerated those lines used for the 1977 collection and by 1981 the sleeves were far more dramatic as you see here. Similar dresses from that year were photoed for various editorials and I have included two of those shots here for your reference. It is a stunning dress ad is instantly identifiable as being Yve's work.
The dress is made from a combination of two of his signatures fabrics, an iridescent silk taffeta and a rich silk velvet. The sleeves are very dramatic and the star of the dress. Each is cut in a classic gigot sleeve with this fantastic fullness that starts at the gathers in the shoulder and remains full billowing out to the elbow. He the switches from the silk to a velvet and this covers the lower arm to the wrist. Four glossy dome buttons run down that cuff to the wrist. The top is cut to skim over the bust with a scooped neckline at the front. It is seamed at the waist and then the velvet extends down over the top of the hips. There is an attached silk taffeta sash that wraps around the waist and cinch you in for added shape. The skirt falls from there and is beautifully full. The photos do not really do the amount of fabric in the skirt full justice. Under the top purple layer of silk is a lining in a coral red silk taffeta. You don't see that inner layer when you are standing, but when you sit or move just right, you get that extra flash of color. It's a small detail that I absolutely love. The choice of the silk taffeta as the primary fabric allows the dress to still be fairly light in weight despite the layers. It also helps to retain its shape and fullness. It is wonderful. Pieces by Yves from this time period have become an important piece of fashion history. Excellent condition.
Fully lined through the bodice in a black silk satin. The skirt is lined in a deep red silk taffeta and the sleeves are unlined. It closes at the side with a metal and nylon zipper and each cuff buttons to close. The sash is attached at the back. Slight flattening to the velvet here and there along the waist seam that is covered by the belt once on. Tagged a vintage YSL 40.
Bust: 17.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 14" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 17" from shoulder to waist
Skirt: 43.5" from waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
Reference Photo: (1) 1981 Yves Saint Laurent Runway. / (2) Model in Yves Saint Laurent, credit unknown.
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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