thea porter

Museum Exhibited 1971 RTW Thea Porter Painted Print Dress

This particular version of the Thea Porter label was only produced between October 1971-March 1972 and this gown was part of the 1971 collection. It is a beautiful example of her work and I am pleased to share that its twin was part of the 2015 Thea Porter exhibit at the London Museum of Textile and Fashion. Curator of that exhibit and Fashion Historian Laura McClaws Helms who is a contributor to my blog, also was kind enough to confirm that the print on this piece was by Janet Taylor. It would have been screen printed and then had some paint sprayed onto it by hand. Selfridges ran an ad campaign that same season and used another version of the dress as part of that giving it additional documentation. Note that the use of the "The Cream" was not the name of the dress, that appeared on all of the ads in the series that season regardless of the designer highlighted. I have also seen this dress refereed to as "The Cosmic" but according to Laura, who is perhaps the worlds foremost expert on Thea porter, the print did not have a particular name.

It is a beautiful example of her work with a printed cotton voile whose semi-sheerness is kept non-scandalous by white muslin lining underneath. The front dips down into a scoop and the bodice is fitted with a wide black panel that wraps around the chest area. The waistline sits high up under the bodice and the skirt flows down and out from there. Each sleeve is beautiful with a full, wide cut that flares out over the the wrists to make a wonderfully dramatic statement. The skirt also flares out to mid length in a wonderful swirl of fabric and pattern. The print is fabulous and this is instantly recognizable Thea. Museum quality condition with some small notes to review below

Fully lined in a white muslin and closes with a back painted metal zipper. There is some color run and marks on the interior lining of the skirt and I do see some color run from the purple here and there. These were notorious for this because of how the dying process was done so I do not consider this a true flaw. The pattern is so extensive that you only notice upon close inspection anyway. I photoed the worst area on one sleeve. There is a touch of "wrinkling" to the fabric under the arms that stayed out even after its initial cleaning. 

Sleeves: 22"
Shoulders: 13.5"
Bust: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 13" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Bodice: 13" from neck to waist
Skirt: 39" from waist to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD2812

Reference Photos: My own photo of the twin of the dress at the exhibit at the London Museum of Textile and Fashion; 1971 Selfridges ad campaign.

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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