james galanos

Spectacular Late 1970s Galanos Couture Ivory Silk Chiffon Dress w Brilliant Floral Print

In 1951, 27 year old James Galanos launched his first label called Galanos Originals. By 1954 he had won a Coty award and the Neiman Marcus award. By 1958 he was producing clothing that could range in price from $200 to $3000, an astronomical price for ready-to-wear for that time period. His ready-to-wear line was made close to couture standards and with a level of craftsmanship that was on par with the French couturiers. Galanos was a master cutter and draper and he used many couture techniques in his work. Grace Kelly was an early fan. He was truly one of the great American designers and his work is held in all of the major museums around the world. He is one of my personal favourites. This dress is exceptional and I was very excited to have it come into the shop. It would be red carpet worthy and it would also be an amazing wedding dress for the bride looking for a non-traditional choice or as an alternative dress in a more extended wedding celebration. It already has the something blue built in. And of course it could also be worn to any non wedding event too. 

I love this dress. The color combination is fabulous together and the two different silks that he used are the highest quality. Galanos excelled at silks and silk chiffon and this dress is a testament to that. It is very difficult to work with these fabrics and have them sit properly. The skirt is really where you see his genius. It is made out of four layers of an ivory silk chiffon with each layer stacked perfectly over the one beneath it. Then on top of those is a fifth printed floral layer. This final outer layer has a touch of texture to it that makes it incredibly beautiful. The layers are attached at the side seams and around the waist so that the hem and shallow slits at the sides can benefit from the full movement created by all the layers. This is what gives the dress movement when you move while still keeping it light as air. Along each side of the skirt is a panel of a liquid finish silk satin. This is a clever way to help the skirt hold its shape and give it weight so that when you move it always sits right. The side panels are actually extensions that run down from the bodice. The top is a simple affair that covers you at the front and leaves the back completely bare. It is gathered in soft horizontal folds across the bust and then those gathers tighten and curve down low at each side. Instead of wrapping around you to the back they drop and extend into those side skirt panels that you see. It is incredible. Tiny straps curve up and over your shoulders and then drop all the way down your back to the waist to hold the dress in place. The inside of the bodice is lightly boned and then lined with what feels like several layers of silk and structure so that you can wear it with nothing underneath. To finish the look he then added this spectacular and huge flower print on both the front and back of the skirt. This bold blue flower covers almost the entire skirt and makes sch a beautiful statement. It is like wearing a piece of art. It would also have had to have been all planned out prior to construction and the silk used for it done separately so that the flowers fell in the exact right position. As with most silk chiffon pieces it really will only truly come to life when on an actually body. It is beautifully made and feather light. Gorgeous. Excellent condition with a small note below.

The multiple layers of silk in the skirt serve as the lining. It closes with a low back hand set zipper. Hand rolled edges and hand finishes throughout. Light boning through the bodice. There is the very faint mark on the side panel of the skirt and some small ones near the hem of the inner lining. Please see the last two photos after the label shot. Slightly more ivory in person then how it photoed.

Bust: the total width of the bust across is about 16" and there is no back
Waist: 13" flat across from side seam to side seam
Inner Hips: to 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 14" from the top of the strap to the waist
Skirt: 42.5" from waist to hem

Modern Sizing equivalent: XS-SML

Item# DD4064

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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Please review all measurements carefully. More often than not, vintage garments do not fit any size category exactly. If in doubt, measure a garment of your own that fits and is a similar cut and compare it's measurements to the listed measurements below.