mollie parnis

Incredible 1970-1972 Mollie Parnis Blue Sequin on Silk Chiffon Caftan Dress w Wide Sleeves

Mollie Parnis is one of my favorite American designers. She was known for having dressed numerous first ladies and her dresses regularly appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vanity Fair. She started a label with her husband in 1933 called Parnis Livingston Inc. and she quickly became know for her quality, fit and use of very good fabrics. She had a particular talent in dressing woman of every age and designed pieces that suited her older clients in a time when this was not a focus. Her husband died in 1962 forcing the label to shutter but she re-grouped and re-opened three months later under her own Mollie Parnis label. In 1970s she launched a ready to wear line hiring designer Morty Sussman to do the initial designs and then approved everything he did before it went into production. His name eventually went on the labels so this dress is from the very early part of that arrangement.

This is a gorgeous dress that is densely covered with glossy blue sequins with the occasional silver one thrown in for added sparkle. It is beautifully made. The outer layer of the dress is made from the deep blue chiffon that is then covered with the sequins from top to bottom. This allows the dress to catch the light from every angle. The cut of the  dress is easy to wear. It has a high collar at the front and then falls outwards from there on a dramatic sweep of fabric to the floor. It is cut supermodel long in length and the wide and easy cut should work an a variety of frames. It has a very glamorous caftan dress feel to it that is just fabulous. All those many yards of fabric give it this incredible movement when you move. It is really beautiful once on the body. The fabric is very fine and light so once on it feels almost weightless. The interior dress has a purpley inner rayon lining and then that is covered in a layer of the same blue chiffon at the outer sequinned layer. This gives the dress extra depth as you see the under-layer through the outer layer. It also adds some structure to help hold the volume of the dress. The skirt flows to the floor and it has a light and airy feel despite the extensive sequin work. I love the sleeves. Each is cut long and have not been lined so that you get a glimpse of skin through them. They fall from the shoulder and widen out quite a bit by the time they reach their ends. They mimic the shape of the widening of the skirt and add yet another light and airy element to the dress.  It is just gorgeous and even better on an actual body. Excellent condition with a minor note below.

Fully lined as described above. It closes with a back zipper and hook & eye at the back neck. I see a tiny amount of sequins missing along the side of the neck. Perhaps the occasional here and there. Please see the photo after the label shot. There is discoloration / fading to the lining under the arms which you of course cannot see from the exterior.

Sleeves: approx 25"
Shoulders: no true shoulder seams
Bust: to 19" flat across from side seam to side seam of the inner dress
Waist-hips: open
Length: 59" from top of shoulder to hem
Upper arm: 15-16" around

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-LRG

Item# DD4024

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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Please review all measurements carefully. More often than not, vintage garments do not fit any size category exactly. If in doubt, measure a garment of your own that fits and is a similar cut and compare it's measurements to the listed measurements below.