Rare & Exceptional Spring 1966 Yves Saint Laurent Sketch Documented Floral Print Dress
Yves Saint Laurent opened his first ready-to-wear boutique on September 26, 1966 in Paris. For the opening he showcased his Fall 1966 Rive Gauche collection but what a lot of people don’t know is that he already had a rtw line. He created his first ready-to-wear collection for the Fall of 1964 with an in-house boutique collection of 35 designs including accessories. This dress is from one of those extremely rare collections that pre-dates the opening of the shop. It is from the Spring 1966 collection and represents one of the earliest ready-to-wear pieces he would have made. Because it pre-dates the actual boutique opening it would have only been made available to you if you were an existing couture client. Only a few of these would have been made. The numbers are probably along the same lines as the couture pieces as far as quantity. This one is extra special because it’s documented which is even more rare. We found a copy of the original sketch and fabric samples in one of the the Saint Laurent books and even they did not have the actual dress to show with that sketch. He did two pieces for the collection in this fabric. The first photo after the label shot here is the twin to this dress and the second is the other similar one that was a part of this collection. Finding a piece that was a forerunner to the boutique launch when that boutique concept went on to revolutionize the world of fashion is truly something truly special. This is a dress made valuable by its place in history.
The dress is beautiful in its simplicity. It is made out of a loose woven cotton feeling fabric that has a stunning and vivid floral print screen onto it. The print is the same that you see in the sketch fabric samples in the attached reference photo. It is a bright combination of blue, green, pinks, corals and yellows all done in an intricate floral pattern that covers the entire dress.The sleeves are cut to go to just past the elbow and are cuffed. On the cuff they have two sets of little snaps spaced close to each other so you can bring the cuff in a little bit to hold them in place in case you wear them pushed up higher on the arm. Above that they pouf out above the cuffs for a pretty fullness. The neckline is scooped at the front and at the back. At the back that scoop dips a little lower for a bit of skin to show. I love how it buttons to close above the zipper at the back with two matching fabric buttons. At the front there is a seam that is set just under the bust. You were meant to tie a ribbon under there as you can see in the sketch. I added a pretty blue grosgrain ribbon but you could add any colour ribbon that picks up on any of the colours of the dress or the accessories you choose to wear with the dress. The dress falls from there and widens out to be very loose and easy over the waist and hips before falling down to the floor. This beautiful A-line baby doll feel is a perfect representation of this era. It would have been the height of chic to wear this shape of dress at the time and its still a classic silhouette now. I photoed the dress without any ribbon so you could see how it looks that way and I also took a shot of it with the ribbon tied around the natural waist. The look of the dress changes completely depending on which of the three ways you wear it and I love the versatility that this adds. The simplicity of the cut lets that stunning floral design take center stage. This is a stunning museum worthy example of his earliest RTW work and it is fabulous. Excellent condition with one tiny note below
Fully lined in a black silk and closes at the back with a zipper and buttons above that. Each cuff has snaps as seen in the photo before the label shot. The hem is finished with a finished edged seam and may have been let down at some point. There is a tiny area on the bodice where a couple of the threads of the weave have broken. It is backed by the lining so only seen upon close inspection but I am pointing it out for accuracy. Please see the photo after the label shot
Shoulders: approx 15"
Bust: 17.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Seam under bust: 17.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Natural waist: to 20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 22.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 9.5" from top of shoulder to seam under the bust
Skirt: 48" from seam under the bust to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-MED
Reference Photos: Drawings of the Fall 1966 Yves Saint Laurent Collection. From the book "Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Fashion Revolution."
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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