bill blass

Fabulous Fall 1986 Bill Blass Runway Brilliant Blue Silk Velvet Dress w Open Cut Out Back

Bill Blass launched his label in 1970 when he bought out the Maurice Rentner label and re-launched it under his own name. Blass was arguably one of the most famous of  the American designers. His forte was the ability to mix simple styles with luxurious materials and his evening wear in particular seemed to have a way of flattering the wearer. He knew how to walk that line perfectly. This is a gorgeous example of his work from this time period. You really start to see the direction he was into for the 1980s in this one. It has the added provenance of being the twin of the runway piece and I have included that reference photo here. We found the runway photo after I shot the photos of dress and you can see that I tied the attached tie around the waist while on the runway he let it trail back and behind the model. I love that it can be worn either way.

The dress is made out of the most extraordinary fabric. It is a brilliant blue silk velvet that has an abstract print worked into the velvet. The pattern is created by having the pile of the velvet go the opposite way where the print is so the different parts of the print catch the light differently. It's extraordinary colour is just unbelievable. It almost seems to glow and it is really striking to see in person. The dress falls in one smooth line from the shoulders. The shoulders have light shaping and the sleeves slightly get along the tops for the tiniest bit of a capped feel. Each deep is set wide where it is set into the bodice and then narrows down at the rest. There's a hidden side zipper and it slightly gathered there for a little extra detail. The dress falls to the floor in one long lean line down the front. If you choose to tie the attached ties towards the back only then it has the feel of a sheath or column dress. By wrapping around the front as I have done in these photos you can add some extra shape. Back there's a button at the top of the neck and then there's an open diamond shaped cut out that leaves most of your back bare. Set along the back sides where that opening is the widest are two attach ties. These sit on a slight angle so that when you have them tied at the back they follow the angle of the opening instead of obstructing it. On the runway he tied these casually looped and hanging long behind or you can wrap then like I did. The cut is pure Blass for this time period and its gorgeous. Very chic. Excellent condition

The dress is partially lined in a blue silk through the upper part and there is a hand set wide ribbon inside the bottom hem to help it to hang properly. It closes at the back with a hidden set low zipper and a button at the top of the neck. Each sleeve has a hidden side zipper at the wrist. It looks to have been worn very little if at all

Sleeves: 26"
Shoulders: 15.5"
Bust:to 20 " flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: to 14.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 19" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 59" from top of shoulder to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: MED-LRG

Item# DD4317

Reference Photos: (1-3) Fall 1986 Bill Blass Runway.  /  (4) Fall 1986 Bill Blass Dress in the Kent State University Museum.

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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