nina ricci

Extraordinary Fall 1996 Nina Ricci by Girard Pipard Haute Couture Feather & Beaded Silk Dress

The Nina Ricci brand was founded in 1932, at 20 Rue de Capucines in Paris and quickly became one of the top couture ateliers in the world. In 1964, Gérard Pipart succeeded Jules-François Crahay, Nina Ricci's former designer assistant, as head of the brand. Pipart, who had previously worked for Balmain, Fath, and Patou brought a wide range of experience in all aspects of fashion to the brand. Over the following three decades, Pipart's couture vision 'celebrated a flamboyant woman and his ready-to-wear found a loyal following among the most stylish women of the day.' He designed the Couture end of the label until 1998 making this a gown from one of his final seasons. This is an incredible and very beautiful piece of Haute Couture. Hey finding a gown at this level seems almost miraculous. It is truly one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

The twin of this dress walk the runway for the Haute Couture show that season and it was also photoed for L'Officiel that season and we also found a stunning editorial photo that caught it in the most spectacular shot. I love having all of this documentation because it shows you how phenomenal this dress is once on the body. This is truly a dress that you know has to be a true Haute Couture piece the moment you set your eyes on it. I think it is a work of art. The dress is strapless with an optional very tiny strap that comes out from the center of the bodice and wraps and ties around the neck. It will stay on with or without that small strap so it's your choice to wear it or not. The bodice is fitted to the body to hold the dress in place and the inner structure is outstanding. It is boned and cupped but all of that work is completely hidden underneath the silk lining. On the exterior the entire bodice is covered in glossy black beads that are spaced tightly together. The size of the beads vary as they run from the waist up to the top of the bodice. They are smaller around the waist and spaced further apart and then by the top of the bodice are so tightly spaced that they are almost stacked on top of each other. This creates a dense application of bead work that completely covers the black silk velvet base. In spots around the bodice are these large square-ish black pailettes for blocks of gloss to catch the light even more. Then interspersed among all of that are black iridescent feathers and long metallic strands. These are set to stand straight out from the bodice to create a cloud around you. The feathers add this fantastical sense of couture and fantasy. They also create incredible movement as each one moves independently from the other with the slightest bit of a breeze. The bodice is molded and shaped around you and then nips in the waist. The skirt under that is is a statement in its own right. It is an explosion of silk that poofs out all the way around you. The volume is so much that it almost creates a shelf as it come off of the hips. The silk curves up and under the hem to create a bubbled effect. It is shorter at the front so when you walk and sit you can see some leg. This helps to balance out the volume that surrounds you and add a flash of bare skin. It is longer at the back and depending on your height will trail out behind you just a touch. All of the volume is created by an inner structure that is hidden inside the skirt. You can feel stiffened netting and tulle that is all set inside the skirt so that the shape is held perfectly. I used no extra crinolines or anything else under the skirt to add volume when I shot these photos. The volume is all built in and the result of the masterful construction of this gown. The bead work is glass and between that and the sheer volume if the skirt the dress does have weight to it. When you hold this dress it is very heavy and you can feel that it is a Haute Couture piece. Once on the weight of it distributes and balances out wonderfully and the inner construction holds it all perfectly in place. This is truly an extraordinary piece of modern couture and is exceptionally beautiful. It appears to have been worn very little if at all. No matter how good you think it looks in the photos, it is better in person. Excellent condition.

Fully lined in silk with light burning through the bodice an additional added structure inside. The skirt loops under itself so the lining is the same fabric as the exterior. The skirt is filled with what feels like stiffened netting and tulle. This is placed throughout the entire skirt to give it the volume you see. There is an inner zipper to close the bodice and the waist stay to help the dress stay in place. Two tiny straps extend out from the center of the bodice and tie in place behind the neck. It appears to have been worn very little if at all. The dress is finished to Haute Couture standards and entirely made by hand. The proper Haute Couture label is present.

Bust: 16" flat across from side seam to side seam

Waist: the inner waist stay has three hooks to accommodate a 23" 24" and 25" around waist size. If you left that unhooked or extended it the waist will accommodate up to a 26" sized waist.
Hips: open
Bodice: 10" from highest point of the bodice to the waist
Skirt: approx 17" from waist to shortest part of the front hem, 52" to the longest point of the back hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML

Item# DD4240

Reference Photos: (1-3) Fall 1996 Nina Ricci Haute Couture Runway.  /  (4) Fall 1996 Nina Ricci Haute Couture. Photo by Bruno Bisang.  /  (5) Inna Zobova in Nina Ricci Haute Couture for L'officiel de la Mode n808, September 1996. Photo by Michel Nafziger.  /  (6-9) Jurnee Smollett, in this dress, at the Vanity Fair After Oscars Party, 2023.

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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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.