Important Fall 1983 Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld Black Chiffon Dress w Caped Shoulders & Bows

Fall 1983 marked the first fall ready-to-wear collection that Karl did for the label. So any piece from this first year is a find. It is also interesting to note that this first year that Karl was there he worked for the atelier only part time as he was still working for both Chloe and Fendi as well as doing free-lance. For the ready to wear he had Herve Leger assisting him so he could juggle everything. This first year was instrumental to what Chanel was to become as a modern brand. He pulled inspiration from the twenties and thirties and only touched on the  classic Chanel feel. He said at the time 'Even if she never did it this way, it’s very Chanel, no?'. When researching this dress we found the reference shot included here that has a variation of this dress made in a black lace. It is a very easy to wear dress with lots of impact, and of course, Chanel is never a bad idea. 

This Chanel dress is phenomenal. It is stunning and a rare and beautiful example from Karl's first year at Chanel  The cut has hints of earlier decades as mentioned above and yet seems timeless. It is made from a layers of bias cut chiffon that give it the play on transparency that you see. The bias cut makes it wonderfully easy to wear and comfortable once on the body and the ribbons that are worked into the design give it structure and shape. The fabric is light in weight but with enough substance to hold the cut and give it the wonderful curving shape that you see. The bodice of the dress is cut to skim over you and has a V neckline. The neckline is edged in a black satin ribbon and I love the little bow that sits at the base of the V. The back is also cut into a V but this one is wider and done to sit further up on the body. Extending out and attached to the ribbon edging is a chiffon caplet that cascades over the front, falls over each arm and drapes down the back to the waist. This gives it such a pretty effect and when you move even the slightest it moves with you. The waist is seamed and cinched in and then the  the skirt is cut to hug your curves over the hips. I love the little slant pockets edged in more of the black ribbon that sit on each hip. The skirt continues to hug the body until about the knee where it flares out in a dramatic expanse of chiffon for the lower skirt. The same V ribbon edging separates the lower skirts from the more fitted skirt above. The bottom part of the skirt flares out around you and has a more transparent feel. The movement that all these elements of the dress has once it is on is incredible. It buttons all the way down the back with little satin covered buttons and there is another little flat blow at the ribbon finish at the back. The construction is immaculate and it looks to have been worn very little if at all. It is gorgeous and an amazing and really example of Karl's work for Chanel. Excellent condition

Fully lined in a matching black silk chiffon and it buttons to close at the back. It is tagged a Chanel 42. The bias cut fabric does have some give between the ribbons.

Bust: to 17.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 13" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 17.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 17" from top of shoulder to waist, and does come up a bit once on
Skirt: 41" from waist to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD3867

Reference Photo: Fall 1983 Chanel.

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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