Incredible 1950s Maria Antonelli Roma Rare Alta Moda Couture Velvet Beaded Strapless Dress

The Antonelli Roma label was the Alta Moda / couture line launched by Maria Antonelli. She founded the label in 1930. She loved a long minimalist line in her work and she was one of the founding members of the group who pushed to establish Italian couture, or Alta Moda, as recognized couture in its own right. Her work was a a part of the V&A's 2014 exhibition titled 'The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014'. She was also one of the select group of couturiers that designed her work directly on the body rather than using a toile or muslin pattern. She has been hailed as a pioneer of Italian couture. Pieces of her work are exceptionally rare and this dress is an utterly beautiful example.

This is just a magnificent piece of early Italian Couture. The dress is held in place on the body with a built-in corset that is boned and structured.The exterior over that is made from an inky black velvet and the design of the dress makes it appear to be wrapped around the body. The bodice curved across the front and then it dips down to scoop lower at the back. It nips in at the waist, but there is no seams set across the waist to break the line. That shape was all created by the vertical seaming. It curves over the hips and falls to the floor, falling longer on one side than the other. The edges are finished with a wide and elaborate panel of beadwork with prong set glass rhinestones in the mix. These have all been hand applied onto the velvet. The beads and rhinestones are all placed to emphasize that feel that the dress has been wrapped in place around you. The detailing goes across the top of the bust and then dips down to the back. It crosses over itself at the back and there are hidden snaps to help keep the illusion that is has been effortlessly wrapped around you. More embellishments follow the curve of the skirt. It begins at the longest point of the hem and then curves up and under one hip, wraps around that and meets the beadwork of the bodice. At the very bottom point of the hem the appliques actulaly wraps into the interior of the skirt so that when you sit or move, you don’t visually lose the line of the beading. I love that detail. Inside and out and this is an amazing example of Italian Couture from this time period. A stunning and special dress. Excellent condition with a small note below.

The dress is fully line in a black silk taffeta and it closes at the back with a zipper that is sent on an angle to follow the seam and then the beadwork panels wrap and snap into place over that with hidden set snaps. Inner waist stay hooks to close. Hand finish throughout with hand finished inner seams. All of the beadwork is hand applied. There are some areas where there are some missing beads and rhinestones here and there. But this is scattered overall, so there are not any glaringly bare areas.

Bust: 16-17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: to 12.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 20.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 10" from top of bodice to inner waist stay
Skirt: 53" from inner waist stay to longest pint of the hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML

Item# DD4308

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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