Rare Fall 1994 Guy Laroche Haute Couture Wide Sleeve High Low Dress w Cumberbund
Guy Laroche began working for Jean Desses in 1949 and eventually launches his own Haute Couture label in 1957 as a full member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Mode Parisienne. He became known for his color sense and the young, sexy look of his clothes. In 1985 he won the Haute Couture Golden Thimble award and two years later he was awarded the insignia of Chevalier de L’Ordre de la Legion d’Honneur. His second Golden Thimble was given posthumously after his death in 1989. Michel Klein took over the couture division where he remained until 1996. This dress is from Klein's tenure as the Haute Couture director and label and it is a beautiful example of the work he was doing during his tenure there. Laroche once was quoted as saying “It is my intention to try and adapt haute couture to modern requirements: to make dresses that are simple and chic.” and I feel that this dress tries to live up to that thought while still maintaining the feel of couture during this mid-nineties.
This is the type of piece that is so bold and edgy that you will only ever find it in a Haute Couture piece. I feel like whoever ordered this one had it tweaked slightly from the runway presentation and made it better. The bodice is scooped across on a more graceful line (I don't love how it fits Kirsty Hume who is the model in the photo) and the back skirt feels longer. They also eliminated the bow at the front, opting instead for a single long panel falling at the back that matches the colour and fabric of the skirt. These small details add up to a big difference in how it presents. I also feel that the fit overall is far better then how it appears on the runway. It makes me wonder if there was a last minute substitution of the model for this piece, because in person the dress that I have here is a far better cut and fit overall then how it looks like in the runway shot. The dress is a mini dress that has an attached long panel on the skirt that wraps part way around you to leave the full front open under the mini skirt. The bodice is scooped wide and low at the front and made from a pale taupe silk. It extends down past the waist so a very short mini skirt that has a slight flare to it as it reaches the hem. The long skirt wraps around and is attached at the side of the waist. It is a soft olive toned green and done on that same rich heavy silk that has a slight satin finish. It falls to the floor in a long smooth drape of fabric. A wide silk cummerbund wraps around the waist to give shape. This narrows down at one end and hooks into place under a long swooping gold brooch which I believe is gold plated. The cummerbund has a long panel attached at the back and I have left it hanging as an extra panel. You could probably be clever and wrap /tie it to create a bow effect if you wished to emulate the runway photo more. The darkness of the sash around the waist is then picked up by the spectacular sleeves. Each is made out of a deep blue-black silk chiffon and are cut extra long. They are also cut wide and full to fall at an angle at the end of each sleeve. This bit of softness and transparency the sleeves have contrast sharply to the rich silk the rest of the dress is made from. It is a very unusual dress and shows the experimental side of couture. This is one of those dresses that when the right person wears it, it is going to blow people away. Excellent condition with a minor note below.
Fully lined in hand set silk that matches the colour of the exterior silk that is being lined. The sleeves are unlined. The dress closes with a hand set hidden back zipper and then there is another zipper that closes the inner mini skirt. The sash at the waist wraps and hooks into place. The brooch is detachable and shows sight patina on the gold. Proper couture label present. The dress is entirely made by hand to Haute Couture standards. The inner silk of the long skirt is scuffed near the hem and I see slight grubbiness along the hem on parts. Please see the shot after the label photo.
Sleeves: 34" to the longest point
Inset shoulders: 12"
Bust: 16" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 13.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 16" flat across from side seam to side seam
Mini dress length: 31" from top of shoulder to hem
Full Length: 60" from shoulder to longest point of the hem
Waist sash: 26.5" in length to where the hooks presently sit with an extension past that that wraps and hooks into place
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML
Reference Photo: Fall 1994 Guy Laroche Haute Couture Runway Collection on Kirsty Hume.
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