john anthony

Elaborate 1987 John Anthony Couture Off Shoulder Mini Dress w Sequin Beading & Rosettes

John Anthony is an award-winning American fashion designer best known for simple, elegant clothing with a strong sense of chic. His work veers towards minimalism, with sharp tailoring, striking evening wear being his signature. He is renowned for his cutting and tailoring. From the day that he launched his atelier in 1971 his design philosophy is a fusion of function and purpose. The function is his logical, wearable approach; the purpose, his pared-down ideas. As a designer, he considers it his job to make things easy for the customer. He designs with focus and a narrow palette for both day and night, so items can easily intermingle. He uses natural fabrics and is noted for contradictory daywear fabrics in his evening collections. In the early 70’s he was one of the first designers to promote the idea of easy-to-travel clothes that resist wrinkling. By 1976, he was showing soft, liquid separates in muted colours that became his trademark and received 2 Coty awards, one in 1972 and one in 1976, as recognition. 

His 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 did, and still do, retail for over $10,000. His work is a personal favourite of mine and I am thrilled to offer this exclusive nine piece capsule collection of pieces and samples that John pulled from his own archives to share with you. 

The level that this dress is made to is a beautiful thing to see. It has all those lovely details that you expect in a couture level garment. The skirt is made from a black silk taffeta and then the bodice is very elaborately finished. These fabric choices help to hold its intended shape and give it a high glamour feel. The bodice is more fitted and the neckline is cut wide across so that you can wear it off the shoulder. The bodice is entirely covered in thousands of tiny black sequins. Glass beads in gold and red create a diamond pattern that runs over the bodice and then gold roses are embroidered into that. Onto the gold embroidery sits little clusters of 3D rosettes of metallic pinks and gold. It is incredible and very elaborate. The top is cut to follow your curves and the waist is cinched in. The sleeves are long and are as covered with the sequins, beads and rosettes as the bodice is. All of the edges are bordered and the zipper is hidden under the border that runs down the centre at the front. The skirt is equally well made. It curves out from under that elaborate beading widening out as it nears the hem. Inside the skirt are built in panniers at each hip to help give it shape and volume. This technique helps to hold the shape of the skirt and when on the body it poufs out perfectly. The hours of work that it would have taken to implement the detailing on this dress is mind boggling. It is extraordinary and the kind of quality and beauty that you will only find with vintage. It appears to have been worn very little if at all. Excellent condition.

Fully lined in a black silk. There are built in hip panniers on each side of the inner skirt. It closes with a hidden set zipper down the front. Each sleeve buttons to close with a series of jet buttons and loops. Hand finished.

Sleeves: 19"
Bust: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 14" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Length: approx 32" to hem once on the body

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD3832

This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.

Setting up a layaway is super easy and we are happy to provide this service!

Here's how deposits work on a standard layaway:

  • We require three equal payments of the layaway total. You will be invoiced for the first amount upon request
  • payment two of the remaining balance will be billed two weeks from the date of the initial deposit.
  • The final payment is due two weeks after the second payment and shipping will be billed on this invoice as well.
  • items less then $500, or that are on sale, require a 50% deposit with the final payment due in two weeks from the date of deposit 

Read More

We offer flat rate Standard UPS shipping worldwide. All shipping options are displayed at checkout in the pull down menus provided.

Want it faster?

We offer flat rates for expedited and express shipping options - these will also display at check out and can be selected with the drop down menu during the checkout process.

Read More


Please review all measurements carefully. More often than not, vintage garments do not fit any size category exactly. If in doubt, measure a garment of your own that fits and is a similar cut and compare it's measurements to the listed measurements below.