Incredible Spring 1977 Jean Patou by Angelo Tarlazzi Plunging Bronze Silk Lame Metallic Pleat Dress
After the premature death of Jean Patou in 1936, his sister took over the house and eventually had other designers head the atelier. On the Jean Patou site the history of the houses designers is clearly laid out; 'Marc Bohan, born in 1926, made his debut with Jean Patou at the age of 18. He left the couture house to better find himself as the artistic director. He kept the legend alive from 1954 to 1957. He moved on to serve as the head of creation at the Dior house for the following thirty years. Karl Lagerfeld joined the fashion house as head designer in 1958 and left Jean Patou in 1963 to devote himself to ready-to-wear houses with whom he collaborated. Michel Goma remained at the head of the fashion house from 1963 to 1974. He developed ready-to-wear in parallel with his couture work. Jean Paul Gaultier began his career with Jean Patou during Michel Goma’s time there. He joined the studio in 1972 at the age of 20, completing his apprenticeship there. He left the house in 1974 to work at Pierre Cardin. Angelo Tarlazzi took over the reins of Jean Patou in 1974, succeeding Michel Goma. He left at the end of 1977 to start his own brand. During his time with Jean Patou in the 1980s, Christian Lacroix gave the brand a new life. Lacroix dared all the crossovers, unexpected combinations of colours, extravagant details (such as the famous tafetta hand-painted toile de jouy cocktail dress), and oriental inspirations reminiscent of those Jean Patou loved them at the time of his splendour. He received the prestigious Dé d'Or de la Couture award in 1986 for his work, before the fashion house ceased its activity in 1987 and Lacroix founded his eponymous house within the LVMH group.' After a lot of research I have dated this to be from the Spring 1977 collection under Angelo Tarlazzi's time there. I found a reference photo of a dress from that year with a metallic lame finish and pleating and it seems that this was a theme used through that collection.
The dress is magnificent. It is one of the best examples of Patou's work that I have seen and it is just an incredible dress in its own right. It is made out of a bronzed metallic lame that has a design worked through it in gold thread. This addition of a pattern worked into the silk lame allows the fabric to catch the light from any angle and gives it this wonderful extra texture. The entire dress had been knife pleated and each pleat is the exact same size as it's neighbour. The pleating adds yet another layer of texture to the dress and it is stunning The dress is suspended from the shoulders by two tiny straps made out of the same fabric. It plunges into a V at the front and then at the back it plunges all the way to the waist seam. This leaves a broad expanse of bare skin showing. To add to the sense that the top is just a bare bit of fabric covering you, each side also plunges into a V. As the silk lame fabric drapes over your bust and back the pleats open and expand to create a little bit of volume. The front has a seam under the V that is closed up the centre to the base of the V but I think if you wished you could have it opened so that it also plunged right to the waistline. Same with the sides. The waist nips in and then the skirt falls to the floor under that in a sweep of pleat work and lame. There is an incredible amount of fabric in the skirt. The fabric is feather light and so fine that when you stand still it falls in a column but then, at your slightest movement, it moves with you and you realize just how expansive the skirt really is. No matter how great the photos look it is that much better in person. The fabric is just stunning and every line of the dress is perfection. I am obsessed. Made to demi-couture standards. Excellent condition
The bodice is partially lined at the front only with a silky rayon and the skirt fully lined in a brown silk. It closes with a back metal and nylon zipper. Tagged a vintage 36. The pleats allow the bust to expand quite bit but will also sit well on a smaller bust too. If the waist fits it should work an a range of sizes
Bust: approx 14-18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 13" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 15" from top of bodice to waist
Skirt: 43.5" from waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-MED
Reference photo: Jean Patou L'Officiel Spring 1977
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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