Important 1974 Halston Turquoise Cashmere Extremely Low Back Halter Dress
This is a very rare and beautiful example of Halston's work using cashmere during this time period. He was a master at combining function and ease but without sacrificing glamour. He did this with the absolute minimum of seaming that a garment required. His knit, bias cut pieces like this one, sometimes feel somewhat shapeless on the hanger or dress form and it is only when they are slipped on that they drape and settle into place the way they were intended. They seem so very simple but they are not. A similar dress to this example appeared in the book 'Halston' and I also found a similar example from an earlier collection he was doing in cashmere from the 1972. The 1972 dress was actually featured in the Museum at FIT exhibit 'Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s'. In their exhibit notes they mention these cashmere pieces specifically:
"Halston’s use of historical elements to create new collections was sparing. Rather than re-interpret the designs of those who came before him, he made subtle allusions to those designers whose work he most admired. He was inspired by body-revealing active wear and the sinuous, bias-cut gowns of Madeleine Vionnet from the 1930s, while primary influences from the 1940s included the cashmere sweater sets of Mainbocher and the ingenious ties and closures employed by Claire McCardell"
The dress is cut to be a full supermodel length with a halter type front from which the dress falls to the floor in a column of pale turquoise cashmere to the floor. The ties are very long and I think you could easily wrap them around the body to emulate the reference piece from the exhibit if you preferred that look. The back drops almost scandalously low depending on how tight you tie the neck. It will also drop along the sides more if you choose to wear it lower. Basically, the ties give you full control on just how much skin you wish to show. In the book 'Halston; An American Original' they talk about Halston's cashmere pieces and quote Polly Mellon as saying: "His cashmere pieces to the floor... weren't just tubes: they had armholes, were neat on top, yet very cozy and at the same time elegant". It is said that they were inspired by a close associate that was a dance instructor and were intended to give the body complete freedom. The color on this one is truly amazing and I have not seen this exact color in one of his pieces before. It is a rich pastel turquoise that is even better in person then how it photoed and has a more dusky tone to it in real life. It is the kind of color that will flatter most skin tones. These brilliantly created, more colorful examples of his work are not as easy to find for Halston anymore and this dress is an amazing and rare piece of fashion history. It is also remarkable in that it is in absolutely wonderful condition. So many of his cashmere pieces that you find now are not and a piece this good and in this condition is a true find. Excellent condition.
Unlined and slips on to wear. It is made from 100% cashmere made in Italy. Tagged a size M . Because it is knit it has stretch and will fit a variety of sizes. I have given the comfortable range of stretch while it is lying flat in the measurements below. You could probably go a little beyond that range listed depending on how fitted you wanted it.
Bust: variable with no true side seams
Waist: 14-17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 19-21" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: approx 63" from top of neck to hem and you can adjust that a bit depending on how tight you ties the neck
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-LRG
Reference Photos: (1-2) Illustration and Model in Pale Blue Cashmere Halston Set, 1974, from the book "Halston" by Rizzoli. / (3) 1972 Red Cashmere Halston Dress, from the book "Yves Saint Lauren + Halston: Fashioning the 70s" by Patricia Mears and Emma McClendon.
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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