norman norell

Rare c1958-1960 Norman Norell Silk Taffeta "Bubble" Dress

Normal Norell begain his career working for Hattie Carnegie and then in 1941 partnered with Anthony Traina and his work from then until 1958 appears under the Traina-Norell label. Between 1958 and up to 1960 items appeared under his name only and then in 1960 he officially launched his own label. This dress is an early example of his work from this time period. He was a master tailor and his earlier work explores shape and volume. In February 1958, another version of his "Bubble Dress" appeared in Harper's Bazaar on Dovima whose cape gave it the dramatic shape. This version builds on that shape but puts all the volume into the skirt which allows the top to be bare and sexy for balance.

The finish is incredible and it is very well tailored, beautifully constructed and made from the best possible silk that you could acquire at the time - in fact, his pickiness about using only the best fabrics became a signature move on Norell's part that carried through his career. The soft watercolor floral design is a work of art on its own and the pink and pastel coral hues are flattering on almost every skin tone. Every line is a study in thought and detail and used to contrast and build on the rest of the design. The cups of the halter top are formed and shaped and the back left bare. The waist is set high and is nipped in with a wide hand placed panel of fabric that gives the illusion of the tiniest possible waist. The skirt has an immense amount of fabric and is caught up underneath with tulle and the way it is cut creating that dramatic pouf. I have styled it for maximum volume but it can also be worn without that much volume if you wished (though why?). It also came with its original wide, matching silk stole for a touch of coverage if you wish. Really a remarkable and stunning Norell dress and a piece of fashion history. Excellent, museum quality condition.

Constructed with multiple layers of the same exterior silk and a white inside that serves as lining and support for the structure. It closes with hidden hook and eye on the interior corseting and a hidden painted metal zipper under the waist line. The sash at the waist goes over the closures and hooks into place under the bow detailing at the front for an unbroken line. Inner tulle through the skirt and extremely fine construction. Hand finished and the silk is of extremely high quality and a very luxurious weight.

Bust: 16-17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 12" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Bodice: 12" from top of bust to waist
Skirt: 25" from waist to hem

60" x 17"

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML

Item# DD2653

Reference Photos: Dovima wearing a dress with cape by Norman Norell for Harper's Bazaar, February 1958.

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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