Important Spring 1993 Yves Saint Laurent Runway Draped Neckline Panne Velvet Leopard Print Dress
Yves showed the twin of this dress on the Spring 1993 runway AND during his Haute Couture presentation for the Fall 1992 collection. On both runways this dress was styled with a belt but otherwise looks identical to this version. Yves was a designer who mixed and matched ideas from couture to ready-to-wear with ease. More so than many other designers. Sometimes the details were exact copies like this one is, with the difference being that one would have been made to measure and completely by hand and this one produced with only some hand finishes and to his standard sizing. This dress has added interest to it because Catherine Deneuve actually owned one of the couture versions produced and it was part of her 2019 sale of YSL with Christie's auction house. This was already special due to its rarity and that little added linked provenance with its history makes it even more special. The dress is absolutely gorgeous and I'm happy to have photo references so that you can see just how beautiful this is on an actual body. Yves Saint Laurent was known for his leopard pieces and this one is exceptional.
In her review of the couture show that season, fashion journalist, Suzy Menkes, said; ‘Laurent took a three minute standing ovation Wednesday for a show that could be summed up in three words poetry, simplicity, authority.' It was also noted that by the time the final evening pieces came down the runway the crowd erupted into 'enthusiastic cries'. Even though this version is not from the couture runway I feel it is relevant to share that bit of her review because the dress is visually identical to the couture one as noted above.
The neckline is cut wide across and the distance from the edge of the neck line to the shoulder seam is just over an inch. Built-in underneath is a bit of a specialized padding that runs the width of that and then extends out just past the seam into the arms about a quarter of an inch. Then what gives you that high feel of the shoulder and holds the neckline in place so that it has that beautiful drop at the front. It is padding with the very minimal use of padding and it is genius. It is also important to note that this neckline and shoulder treatment are used in many of his pieces from this point forward and became a bit of a signature for him. From there the sleeves fall from the shoulder narrowing down to the cuff. From just above the elbow to the bottom of the sleeve he has gathered the fabric along the inside edge and then added a zipper at the wrist. The top is loose cut and is meant to billow out over the waist a bit. The silk panne velvet catches the light beautifully and emphasizes the curving lines the draping creates. At the back it falls in a smoother line to the waist and there is a keyhole and button above that for a tiny flash of bare skin. The waist is banded with a one inch band of the same fabric. On the couture runway he added a gold belt but the dress can easily be worn without one. From there the skirt falls to floor widening out a bit as it nears the hem. The fabric is a silk mix panne velvet and it has an exceptionally smooth pile finish that makes it soft to the touch. I love the way the leopard print falls over the dress with the darker part of the print running down the middle of the dress at both the front, back and running along the bottom of each sleeve. This would have been carefully and deliberately planned and placed in this fashion to help add height and draw the eye in when it is on. It is genius and it is beautiful. Poetry. Excellent condition
Fully lined in a brown silk and closes with a side set zipper that extends up and under the arm slightly. Each cuff has a zipper to close. There is a button and loop above a key hole at the back. Light padding on the very edges of the shoulder and little straps and snaps to hold your undergarments in place inside of each shoulder. It appears to have been worn very little if at all. Tagged a vintage YSL 40
Shoulders: no set seam because of the width of the neck
Bust: to 20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: to 13" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 16" from top of shoulder to top seam at waist and meant to blouse over a bit.
Skirt: 41" from top seam of 1" band at the waist to hem with 2" turned under
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
Reference Photos/Video: (1-3) Spring 1993 Yves Saint Laurent Runway. / (4-10) Fall 1992 Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture Runway. / (11) Fall 1992 Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture long leopard silk velvet dress with gilt-metal belt from Catherine Deneuve's Auction with Christie's.
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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