john anthony

Showstopping Fall 1975 John Anthony Couture Deep Plunging Red Dress Entirely Covered in Glass Beads

John Anthony is an award-winning American fashion designer best known for simple, elegant clothing with a strong sense of chic. His work veers towards minimalism, with sharp tailoring, striking evening wear being his signature. He is renowned for his cutting and tailoring. From the day that he launched his atelier in 1971 his design philosophy is a fusion of function and purpose. The function is his logical, wearable approach; the purpose, his pared-down ideas. As a designer, he considers it his job to make things easy for the customer. He designs with focus and a narrow palette for both day and night, so items can easily intermingle. He uses natural fabrics and is noted for contradictory daywear fabrics in his evening collections. In the early 70’s he was one of the first designers to promote the idea of easy-to-travel clothes that resist wrinkling. By 1976, he was showing soft, liquid separates in muted colours that became his trademark and received 2 Coty awards, one in 1972 and one in 1976, as recognition. 

His business was all done on a made to order basis. That means the majority of pieces you will find are a one-off, or if there are similar pieces, very few of each piece exist. This personal attention to each dress is clearly seen in the workmanship of his pieces. His work is very expensive and beaded pieces did, and still do, retail for over $10,000. His work is a personal favourite of mine and I am thrilled to offer this exclusive nine piece capsule collection of pieces and samples that John pulled from his own archives to share with you. 

This is an amazing dress that is heavily beaded and extremely sexy. The base of the gown is made of a red silk chiffon that then has hundreds of vertical bands of red coloured glass tube beads laid out in vertical rows that fully cover the dress. The dress is already spectacular on its own and the addition of the thousands and thousands of glass tube beads give the dress an extra layer of texture and glamour. Every square inch of the dress catches the light and sparkles. As a result the dress is fairly heavy off the body because of that extensive bead-work, and yet once on the body it lies and drapes in a way that it is balanced and not at all unwieldy. And the colour... If you even remotely love it in the photos you will gasp to see it in real life. This needs a body to give it a life of its own and the camera cannot capture just how gorgeous it is and how the beads catch the light. The bodice is cut with a deep plunge that goes right to the waist. There is no structure inside the panels that sit of the bust. They are meant to just skim over you. They curve up and over each shoulder to turn into thin straps that run down the sides of your back. The back is otherwise left completely open and bare. The sides plunge equally as low so there is an expanse of bare skin there as well. I love how there are no horizontal seams added at the waist so that the front remains a long unbroken line right to the hem. The skirt widens out as it nears the hem and the combination of the silk and beading give it incredible drape. A slit runs up one side so that when you walk or sit you get a flash of leg. As good as it photoed, the effect that this dress has once it is on an actual body is far more dramatic and fabulous. If you even remotely love it in the photos you will dance when you see it in person as it is so much better in real life. Extremely well made and made to demi-couture standards. Excellent condition with one minor note below.

Fully lined in a red silk chiffon and it closes at one side with hidden set silk covered snaps and a hook & eye. Hand finished throughout. It has a good weight to it since it is fully beaded from top to bottom with glass beads but feels balanced when on and comfortable. There is a small part of a row of beads missing near the back scoop and a part of a row at the back. Please see the photos after the label shot. The straps have been folded and tacked to shorten a bit at the top of each one.  This could be easily reversed if needed.

Bust: each halter covers approx 5.5" across
Waist: 14" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 60" from top of bodice to waist
Slit: 21.5" from waist to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD3834

Reference Photo: (1) Fall 1975 John Anthony Collection.  /  (2) Dayle Haddon in John Anthony, photographed by Hiro for Harper's Bazaar, September 1975.  /  (3-4) Fall 1975 John Anthony Runway.

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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