donald brooks

Incredible Fall 1970 Donald Brooks Runway Black Chenille & Sequin Net Lace Dress w Plunge Front

Donald Brooks launched his label in late 1963 with a collection for the Spring 1964 season after an already successful start as a costumier for Hollywood. He quickly became one of the most sought after of the American designers and his clients included Jaqueline Kennedy, Claudette Colbert and Faye Dunaway. The New York Times said that he was one of 'the three B's of fashion' alongside Bill Blass and Geoffrey Beene. He helped to launch the American Council of Fashion Designers and won three Cody Awards over the course of his career. He launched a secondary boutique line 1971 all while also designing costumes for Movie and Television. He eventually closed his label to concentrate on costume work and only designed for the occasional private client. Finding documentation on his earlier pieces is rare and I am so happy to have a runway reference shot of this one for you so that you can see just how spectacular this dress is on the body.

This dress is just spectacular. This is the kind of dress that makes vintage so special. The workmanship on this dress is unbelievable. The fabric is beautiful to see and as you look at it closer you realize just how many small details have gone into it. It has the feel of lace as far as its pattern but it is made from an ultra soft black chenille cording that has been hand stitched into place over a metallic netted base to form the flowers and patterns that cover the entire dress. Onto that are glossy black sequins that have been hand sewn into place to follow parts of the design. The netting underneath the cording and sequins has a more open weave in places and he backed the dress in a nude lingerie netting to give a bit if coverage. It still gives you this feel that you are seeing through the dress here and there and this subtle detail is quite sexy. It dips into a low V at the front that goes right to the banding around the waist with a little bit of cording set across the base to hold it in place. It skims over the bust and the waist is seamed and set so that it has a slight empire feel. A black silk ribbon is attached around the waist to add a bit of detailing. On the runway they also added a flower off to one side and this would be easy to do if you loved the look of the runway. The skirt falls from under there and widens out as it nears the hem. It is cut to sit just over the ankle depending on your height so that you get a glimpse of shoe from under the skirt. The sleeves are the perfect finishing touch. They are cut wide and full at their ends and this perfectly picks up on the shape of the skirt. I love how all of the edges on the dress are finished with a scalloped detail for a soft and romantic touch. The metallic thread and sequin work let the entire dress catch the light when you move. It is extraordinary. Excellent condition

The bodice is lined in a nude lingerie netting and the skirt is lined in a nude silk. The sleeves are unlined. There are some tears and small repairs to the inner lining that I have left as it is still wearable as is. The inner skirt closes with a zipper and then the outer skirt snaps over that with silk covered snaps. The back buttons to close from the waist up with hand covered silk buttons and loops.

Sleeves: 21"
Shoulders: no true defined seam
Bust: to 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 13.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 23" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 14.5" from top of bodice to waist
Skirt: 37.5" from waist to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD3724

Reference Photo: Fall 1970 Donald Brooks Collection.

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.