Dramatic 1987 Loris Azzaro Black Strapless Dress w Low Full Skirt & Shoulder Flare
Loris Azzaro launched his label in 1967 and his trademark look soon developed. He became know for his extravagant use of colour, beading, sequins and avant garde ways of defining the body. Some of the most beautiful women in the world wore his clothing including Marisa Berenson, Raquel Welch, Jane Birkin, Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot and Tina Turner. It was a label that defined sexiness and had a certain French flare that women world-wide loved. By the eighties he was experimenting with volume and proportions and new cutting edge fabrics. This is a wonderful example of his work during this time period. We found a reference photo of an Azzaro dress with a very similar shoulder treatment and I think this one is even better.
This dress is nothing short of a bold and dramatic statement piece. The bodice is hand draped into soft rounded gathers over the bust. They continue all the way down under the bust to follow the curve of the body all the way to just below the hips. For this part of the dress he used a black stretch jersey that gives the dress it's fitted shape but also keeps it comfortable to wear. Inside the dress is one of his signature strapless underwire bras and this has been sewn into the dress for added support and shape. The top edge is shaped into a low sweetheart curve and the gathers are set to run horizontally down the body. Hand set vertical seams are tacked into place at points all the way around you to give the gathers a slight scooped feel and add length to offset the horizontal lines. It also keeps the gathers from adding bulk. Under that the skirt is set low and i is made out of a black textured silk that has a metallic finish. This is set over several layers of built in under skirting to help give and hold the volume you see in the skirt. On each outer side the panels of the skirt slightly lift up and away from the dress. To tie this into the top, the same fabric and swooping line is used to create that sweep of fabric on the one side of the bodice. I love how this flares out up and over the front portion of the shoulder. It is fabulous. Excellent condition.
Fully lined in a black silk with a built in bra though the bodice that hooks to close separately. It closes at the back with a painted metal and nylon zipper. The interior bodice is boned. Layers of tulle and silk underskirts under the low set skirt. The flame/fan detailing on the bodice has wire inside to hold it up. It would be easy to add additional wire or stiffening inside if you wanted it to really hold even taller then it does now. Hand finished throughout
Bust: to 16.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 13" flat across from side seam to side seam and the inner waist stay hooks slightly smaller then that
Hips: to 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 52" from top of bodice to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML
Reference Photo: Model in Loris Azzaro, L'Officiel No. 734, September 1987.
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