Dreamy 1993 John Anthony Couture Ivory Silk Chiffon Dress w Extensive Beading & Train
John has dived into his archives once more for me and today I have the last of the five dresses he sent from his archives. This is a runway piece from 1993. The bead work on it was done by hand by Madame Gandini who did beading for many of the Couture houses of the day including Norell, Givenchy, Chanel and many others. John is one of my favorite American designers. He won two Coty Awards for his work. The first time in 1972 and then again in 1976. He designed clothes that were simple and elegant but glamorous. Striking evening wear was his signature and he is renowned for his cutting and tailoring. It is an extraordinary privilege to have pieces directly from his archives and these are things you will never see again. This one would be an amazing wedding dress for a bride or could be worn as an alternative dress in a more extended wedding celebration. And of course it could be worn to any glamorous event. It is a work of art and incredibly beautiful.
This dress is absolutely stunning. The fabric is an fine ivory coloured silk chiffon that is cut on the bias. It is lined in a nude silk chiffon and then the upper bodice is finished with a fine silk netting. The dress is detailed with thousands of teeny tiny silver sequins and iridescent clear beads. The silk is feather light and the placement of the beads help it to hold the intended flow that John wanted it to have. The dress is suspended from the silk netting that starts at the neckline and then goes up and over the shoulders and down the back. The netting has just a touch of a green tint to it to give it a little bit of contrast against the skin. I love how the beading is intensified over the front bust area. The iridescent quality of the beads mixed with those tiny silver sequins catch the light and sparkle from every angle. The dress flows over the waist and hips from there. The bias cut lets it drape perfectly over you and shows off the body without being excessively tight. The front is set into a low V. It sits a little lower on my dress form then it will on an actual body so keep that in mind as you look at it. Two triangles curve in towards each other to meet at the center and then it wraps down and around the waist to the back. The back has the illusion of being left completely open under that single layer of netting. The skirt falls to the floor and gently widens out as it nears the hem. The back is cut longer then the front so you get a bit of a trained effect behind you as you walk. From the bust to the lower skirt you have a scattering of the beads and sequins over the silk. Around the hem these are set in a dense panel which not only adds detail and ties in the extensive detailing on the bust but it also gives the lower skirt a touch of weight to hold the shape and volume as you walk and stand. The colour is perhaps a touch brighter in person. It has this lovely feeling of being an heirloom piece and it is fantastically beautiful to see in person. It is a very special piece. Excellent overall condition with a note below.
Fully lined in a nude silk chiffon and slips over the head to wear. It hooks to close along the top of one shoulder. There are two areas where the netting has torn. One on the back shoulder and a tiny one near the shoulder seam. I also see a repair at the top of the shoulder. These could be repaired or it would be very easy to remove the netting completely and add tiny silk straps. Some of the bead work has loosened here and here and there are some small areas where they have fallen off. I have priced the dress taking these small flaws in mind. Please see the photos after the label shot. This is the original runway sample. Handwork throughout. Completely bias cut.
Bust: 14-16" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 12-15" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 25" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 68" from top of shoulder to front hem, 75" to the longest point of the back hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XXS-SML
John's business was all done on a made to order basis. That means the majority of pieces you will find are a one-off, or if there are similar pieces, very few of each piece exist. This personal attention to each dress is clearly seen in the workmanship of his pieces. His work is very expensive and beaded pieces like this sold for over $20,000 and more during this time period. Having this actual runway samples that John pulled from his own archives to share with you is just amazing.
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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