john anthony

Iconic Fall 1980 John Anthony Couture Plunge Front Gold Silk Charmeuse 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 begin to offer this second round of a dozen exclusive pieces and samples that John pulled from his own archives.

This dress is a version of his famous wrap dress that you see in the add I have included here. This is a more structured, supermodel long version of that and made of an incredibly beautiful gold silk charmeuse. The dress is very sexy and shows off some skin but still feels very elegant and refined. It has a bit of a bias cut to it through the body. It is really a dress meant to be on an actual body and not a mere dress form. As good as it looks here it only really comes to life once on. The pale gold silk charmeuse that he has chosen as the fabric drapes like a dream and it is heaven on. It just glides over your body and falls like nothing else. It is 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. I love the wider straps that curve up and over your shoulders and how he has put a little band of fabric to gather it in where it meets the bodice. It is such a pretty and feminine touch. At the back it is scooped down into a V to leave most of your upper back bare. The front plunges down right to the waist for a very sexy feel. The silk is then gathered in toward the base of the plunge at the waist and there is a knot made of the same gold silk there for detailing. The skirt falls under that in multiple curving drapes of gold down the front. It widens out as it nears the hem and flows beautifully around you when you move. There are actually several yards of fabric in the skirt and it has more volume then it looks just standing still. It is pure golden magic and one of the best silk dresses I have seen. It has this wonderful feel of the thirties while still feeling nothing less then modern. It is a beautiful and glamorous dress that is red carpet worthy and would make an amazing wedding dress for the bride looking for a non-traditional choice or as an alternative dress in a more extended wedding celebration. And of course it could also be worn to any big event. Excellent condition.

Fully lined in a pale gold tissue silk and closes with a back hidden set zipper. It has an inner waist stay that has a hook. Cut on the bias and hand finished throughout. Made to demi-couture standards. There is the slightest bit of grubbiness here and there on the hem from storage but other wise looks to have been worn very little if at all.

Bust: 15-18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 13-14" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Length: 67" from neck to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD4014

Reference Photos: (1-2) John Anthony Ad for Bergdorf Goodman, October 5th, 1980.  /  (3-5) Crystal Reed in this dress for the premiere of Teen Wolf, January 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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