Incredible Spring 1994 Jacques Fath Strapless Rafia Dress w an Extraordinary Detachable Skirt
Jacques Fath showed his first collection of just twenty garments in the spring of 1937. It was well received and he steadily built a strong clientele to become of of the busiest ateliers in Paris. The Fath label was shuttered in 1957 after Fath's death three years earlier. In 1992 the label was revived for a short period of time and Dutch designer Tom Van Lingen was charged with bringing the label back to life. He remained at the helm from 1992 to 1997. This is perhaps the most striking dress of his entire time spent at the label. Supermodel Helena Christensen wore its twin on the runway and she also appeared in it for the campaign photos that season. I am very happy to have found footage of the runway show so that you can see just how incredible the dress is on the body and moving. It is just amazing.
This is the most wonderful dress. It is two pieces which makes it very versatile. If you don't want to have all that full on drama of the huge ball gown skirt you can wear the sleek and simple dress underneath on its own. You could also easily wear the skirt over other pieces making it endlessly versatile. The dress is strapless and has a curved and rounded sweetheart neckline. There is inner padding to add extra shape and it is cut to hug the body. It fits like a glove to the bodice and then curves in at the waist and over the hips. It falls to the floor in a sleek minimalist column with a vent at the back so that you can walk. The dress is made out of an incredible combination of a silk lining interior that is then topped with a black lace and net fabric. Following the pattern and design in the lace is a hand applied black raffia that highlights the pattern underneath and gives the dress a fabulous 3D texture. Then over that goes the amazing skirt. It is made from a fine black silk taffeta and is a masterpiece. It wraps and hooks into place with a wide cummerbund feeling band around the waist. From there is falls in a graceful curve down the front that extends out to the train that falls behind you. The front edge is finished in a wide pleated chiffon ruffle that adds texture, drama and more volume. A transparent panel of chiffon is worked all the way around the edge and along that panel there is more raffia hand sewn into place all along its length. The silk taffeta is light but holds volume so well and it just seems to float around you as you move. It is tremendously long and full and just a thing of beauty to see. At the back there is a huge and dramatic bow that balances out all the volume below and the sleekness of the strapless bodice above. It is the perfect finish to the extraordinary dress. Excellent condition with one note below
The dress is fully lined in a fine soft silk and closes with a back hidden set zipper. There is inner padding at the bust and a an full built in inner boned corset that closes with its own zipper. The skirt slips over the head to wear and then closes with a series of silk covered snap and hooks. It is fully lined in the same silk taffeta. The raffia has small breaks in it here and there. I have never seen a vintage piece with raffia detailing that does too this as it ages. Its inherent to the material and normal wear. Otherwise looks to have been worn very little if at all. Tagged a size 4. You could probably get an extra inch at the waist by expanding the inner corset waist
Bust: 16" flat across from side seam to side seam with an A-small B cup
Inner waist: 12" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 51" from top of bodice to hem
Waist: 13" flat across from side seam to side seam
Band height: 6"
Length: aprox 38" from bottom seam of the waist band waist to front hem, 65" to the back hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XXS-XS
Reference Photos/Video: Spring 1994 Jacques Fath Runway & Ad Campaign. Model: Helena Christensen.
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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