Museum Held 1977 Bill Gibb Couture Empire Cut Gold Embroidered Net Lace Dress w Evening Jacket
Bill Gibb was one of the most influential designers in 1970s Britain and his clothes were sought out and worn by the rich and famous. His work has a high fantasy element to it and he was crowned Designer of the Year in 1970. Much of his work verged on couture and he was unrelenting in striving for perfection. Every piece I bring into the shop is very special and I love this one especially as it truly shows the range of his work. This set is a little extra special because its twin resides in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum. They dated it with a general reference to the 1960s but I feel that it has more the feel of the 1977 collection after finding the reference photo of a piece with similar details on it. Bill Gibb's work is extremely rare to find and knowing that this one is important enough to have been acquired by a museum is just an added bonus for a collector .
My photos cannot convey how beautiful this dress is on person. The dress is amazing all on its own even without the jacket that goes over it. It has an empire cut with a halter style bodice. It is suspended from the shoulders by two tiny straps. The fabric that the dress is made out of is a fine ivory netting with a lace pattern worked through it made up of a gold metallic thread. This runs over the entire dress from the top of the shoulders to the hem. The gold that makes up the pattern is denser as it nears the hem and really catches the light and makes the entire dress take on a golden tone and shimmer in the light. The skirting of the dress has been meticulously pleated into tiny little micro pleats. The combination of those tiny pleats and the gold is incredibly beautiful and delicate in feel. It has a lining of the palest pink silk that gives the netting just a touch of a pink feel to it in certain lights. It is incredibly beautiful. You can then slip on the jacket which is cut to fall over the full length of the dress. It has long sleeves and is made out of a pale pink silk chiffon that has been embroidered by hand. The jacket is made up of four panels of fabric that are split along the seams between each panel from the hem right up to the waist line of the dress. Having these sit open along the seams like this allows the fabric of the dress to show underneath when you move. The chiffon that he used to make the jacket is a soft dusty pink silk. The embroidery work at the top of the jacket is done in a combination of soft corals, mint and ivory. The tiniest little seed pearls detail parts of the embroidery. All of the edges of the outer jacket are finished with gold lace. It is just stunning. This is a rare and absolutely amazing piece that is even better in person. It would even be a beautiful choice for a bride who is looking for an alternative to the traditional wedding gown. Excellent condition with one tiny note below.
The dress is fully lined in a pale pink silk and closes with a side metal and nylon zipper. The overlay is unlined and slips on to wear with hook and eye at the very top. Note that it was a bit tiny on my dress form and will fall even better on the proper sized girl. Museum quality and appears to have never been worn, or worn very little. There is one small storage spot on the front panel of the chiffon jacket near the lower edge that is shown on the photo after the label shot. The colors in person are softer and more of a true gold and very soft dusty pink.
Bust: to 16" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist at seam: 15" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips at inner lining: 19.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 13" from top of straps to empire waist seam
Skirt: 44" from waist seam to hem
Bust: to 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist- hips: open
Length: 52" from top of shoulder to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML
Reference Photos: (1) Tree Allen in Bill Gibb by Barry Lategan, 1977. / (2) Bill Gibb Set from the V&A Online 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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