Spring 1976 Christian Dior by Marc Bohan Couture Metallic Gold Striped Silk Chiffon Dress & Jacket
This exceptional silk halter dress with its matching jacket / top is by Marc Bohan for Christian Dior. It is from the Spring 1976 collection. In the 'Dior Catwalk' book, the write up for this season notes that the drawstring was one of the key details of that season saying; 'The watchword these days is "easy" and Bohan pursues ease with (the) drawstring. It is a recurrent theme, from the tailored suits through the chiffon dresses, and it captures the feeling of softness that everyone is striving for'. The dress is a wonderful example of that feeling of ease he was after. It is also a stunning example of his work during this time period. The dress is made even more special since I found a L'Officiel editorial shot with a version of this set. I have also included a shot of a 1968 Dior Couture labeled piece, taken from the book 'Christian Dior' by Assouline, that illustrates that this particular black label, along with versions with slight variations, was being used as an alternative label to identify special order and customized couture pieces from the late 1960s to the mid-late seventies. It is an exceptional dress.
If you think about the standard feel of an evening piece by Dior you see how this one does indeed work in a sense of ease. To have combined a more formal halter style piece and then pop a drawstring jacket over it, that could easily play double duty as a top, would have been very avant grade for this time period. The silk chiffon that has been used to construct this dress is especially fine. It is a very pale light yellow that has fine metallic gold stripes running vertically down the fabric. The gold has been woven directly into the silk. This little pop of a metallic gives the dress a subtle finish that catches the light whenever you move. The addition of the vertical lines also highlight the cut and length of the dress. The dress is simple but perfect. The front neckline is a cut in a halter style that extends up into wide straps that curve up and around the back of the neck where it buttons into place. The triangle shape leaves the front in a low V shaped plunge that I think you could open up even more if you wished it to be even lower. The waist is fitted and the back is left bare and open. Under the waist the skirt skims over the hips then opens out. The volume through the skirt is achieved by flat wide set pleats that circle all the way around you. It is on these pleats that you see the attention to detail that you only see in couture. Every single one of those gold stripes are placed so that they each perfectly line up across the top of the pleat and the pattern is not broken. It's genius. The volume below only becomes apparent when you move and it gives the dress a light and airy feel. Over this goes the matching top that completely transform the look and feel of the dress. It goes from a more bare and sexy dancing dress to something that feels more formal but still with that sense of ease that Bohan was trying to achieve. It buttons to close down the front with a series of silk covered buttons. Each sleeve billows out softly above the wrist and there is a soft silk tie at the neck. The drawstring that was so central to this collection shows itself at the end of each sleeve where a tie runs through the wrist and then it is used again at the waist. This allows you to cinch them in and have the top blouse and pouf or you can choose to wear them loose and easy for a more relaxed feel. I love how the slight transparency of the silk lets you get just a glimpse of the bare back under the top. It is gorgeous and even better in person. This is a piece that will really come to life once on an actual body. Excellent condition with one minor note below.
The dress is fully lined in a pale yellow silk taffeta and the top is unlined. The dress closes with a back painted metal zipper and buttons at the neck. An inner waist stay hooks to close and there is light boning through the bodice. The top / jacket buttons to close and the sleeves and waist have drawstring ties. Hand finished throughout and hand finished inner seams as photoed. Hand covered silk buttons. The label is numbered on the back. There is a tiny spot of thinning/discolouration near the seam of one shoulder and the fabric there has a slightly stiff feel to it. Please see the photo after the label shot.
Bust: approx 16" flat across from side seam to side seam with an open back
Waist: 13" flat across from side seam to side seam
Inner lining hips: to 19" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: approx 15" from top of neck straps to waist
Skirt: 42" from waist to hem
Bust: 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam with ties to adjust in
Length: 18" from neck to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
Reference Photos: (1) Christian Dior ensemble, photo by Michel Picard, L'Officiel, 1976. / (2) Black Label photo from the book "Christian Dior" by Assouline.
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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