john anthony

Iconic Fall 1980 John Anthony Couture Plunge Front Gold Lame Halter Dress w Bare Back

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. 

This dress is very sexy and shows off a lot of skin but in the best possible way. The metallic lame jersey that he has chosen as the fabric weighs mere ounces and it is heaven on. Once it is on it feels almost weightless. It is completely cut on the bias so once you slip it on, the seaming and bias cut drape the dress over you and it feels like you are wearing nothing. The halter of the bodice curves up and behind the neck. At the back this leaves you entirely bare. Its scoops down right to the waist and your entire back and sides are a bare expanse of skin. At the front the halter gathers in toward the base of the plunge at the waist and there is a knot of the gold lame there for detailing. To wear it you slip it on, wrap it and then it hooks at the waist under the front knot. The skirt falls under that in a ruffle of gold down the front. It is slit down the center with the ruffled edges of the fabric keeping it covered. When you walk or move you do get a mile of leg showing. The edges curve down and around the hem and the back is cut longer. It is pure golden magic and one of the best lame dresses I have seen. It appears to have been worn very little if at all. Excellent condition.

Unlined and closes with a back hidden set hooks. It has an inner waist stay that has a hook. You could probably move the hook a little up or down to get more or less room if needed. Cut on the bias and is feather light. Hand finished throughout. The strap at the back of the neck has been folded and tacked to shorten it a notch. It would be easy to adjust this if needed.

Bust: each side of the halter front will expand to cover up to 9" across 
Inner waist: is currently 12" flat across from side seam to side seam but it would be expanded to get another inch easily and maybe more. 
Hips: open
Length: approx 60" from neck to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML

Item# DD3836

Reference Photo: (1-2) Fall 1980 John Anthony Runway.  /  (3-4) John Anthony Ad for Bergdorf Goodman, October 5th, 1980

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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