bill blass

Famous 1971 Bill Blass Vogue Featured Yellow Chenille & Silk Maxi Dress w Elaborate Feather Collar

Bill Blass launched his label in 1970 when he bought out the Maurice Rentner label and re-launched it under his own name. The twin of this dress was photoed a year later for the September issue of Vogue on Donna Mitchell and I think that this photo has become one of the most famous shots of her and one of the best shots done for Vogue period. To have this in the shop is a bit of a holy grail for me personally as it is such a beautiful dress that I  have always loved. 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. Even when the dress was as extravagant as this one is. He knew how to walk that line perfectly. This very early piece of his work and with its glamorous fabric, history and that dramatic feather collar, it is some of his very best work ever. 

The dress is stunning and besides the actual beauty of it as a dress, the fabric is one of the best textiles I have ever seen. It is a printed silk voile in a riotous colour palette of yellow, coral and black with dots of an extra soft plush chenille fused onto the surface. The chenille appliqué covers the entire dress from shoulder to hem and gives it the most amazing tactile feel. The dots also give the dress texture and a three dimensional quality. To offset the texture and extravagance of the print on that fabric, the actual lines of the dress are fairy simple The bodice skims over the bust to the seamed waist and the sleeves are long and straight with zippers at each cuff. The neckline is high and scooped. The skirt falls from the waist to the floor in a gentle widening line. At the neck it becomes all drama again. Here we see that famous feathered collar in all its glory. the collar is actually a separate piece on its own that hooks into place and I have provided photos of the dress with and without the collar. The feathers on the collar have been hand dyed to match the colours of the dress and there are hand dyed smaller feathers hand placed and attached onto the larger feathers to create the pattern that you see. The effect is amazing and it is even better on person and on an actual body as all the elements really come to life. It is really one of the most significant and dramatic pieces ever done by him. A true collectors piece. Excellent condition 

The entire dress including the sleeves is fully lined in a nude coloured silk. It closed with a back painted metal zipper and each cuff has a zipper to close. The collar is backed with a silk organza and hooks to close. There are a few tiny areas of thinning to the silk behind the feathers of the collar but these are extremely minor. Overall it appears to have been worn very little if at all. 

Sleeves: 23.5"
Shoulders: 14"
Bust: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 12.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Bodice: 15" from top of bodice to waist
Skirt: 42" from waist to hem with 3.5" turned under the hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML

Item# DD3562

Reference Photo: Donna Mitchell in Bill Blass, Shot by Richard Avedon, Vogue US, September 1971.

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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