arnold scaasi

Striking 1980s Arnold Scaasi Couture Black Silk Strapless Dress w Pink Lined Half Bow & Shawl

Arnold Scaasi was born Arnold Isaacs in Montreal and the name Scassi is simply his own surname in reverse. He studied in Montreal and in Paris, apprenticed at the house of Paquin and then worked with the legendary Charles James. In 1964 he opened own couture salon. He dressed Hollywood stars like Lauren Bacall, Diahann Carroll and Elizabeth Taylor. He dressed several first ladies including Mamie Eisenhower, Hillary Clinton and both the Bush first ladies. He even once bragged that he refused to give Jackie clothes for free. He was the man behind the scandalous 1969 Barbra Streisand sheer trouser outfit that she collected her Oscar in, and he was presented with the Council of Fashion Designers of America Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. The dress is from his main label and these were extremely well made pieces. It is so dramatic and in being so also so very Scaasi.  He himself once said 'I am not a minimalist designer! Clothes with some adornment are more interesting to look at and more fun to wear.'

You can easily see the influence of Arnold having worked for Charles James in this piece. The lines are dramatic and yet elegant. The silk is that incredibly rich feeling silk that drapes and sits beautifully. The dress is strapless and is gathered from there to the waist. The gathers are all held in place along the side and this brings in the cut so that it follows and highlights your curves. The skirt is set under that and it is done with an asymmetrical cut so that one side of the skirt is linger them the other. This was a signature cut for Scaasi and a detail you see in many of his pieces. The skirt is quite full and the shape and volume that you see is all created by the way the seams are done and the inner construction of the dress. The innermost layer closest to you goes to just past the hips and it is made out of a fine black silk. A layer of tulle sits between that and the outer skirt and this is how the shape is created. The outermost layers sits over all of that and even that top layer is self-lined in a black silk organza. The final perfect touch is that extraordinary half bow that is set along the one side of the bodice. This is lined in a brilliant pink for an unexpected pop of colour. I have placed it to one side but the dress is so well made that you could wear it almost anyway around and just change where the zipper sits and the back or sides. I think you might even be able to wear it with your arm slipped through and if you really wanted to create more drama you could add some wire inside to ensure it stays high and full no matter how you move as it may flop down when moving as out is now. This one also comes with its original high shawl that is black on one side and that same brilliant pink on the other. Excellent condition.

Fully lined in a fine black tissue silk. The bodice is lightly boned and it closes with a side set zipper. The inner skirt construction is described above. Hand finished throughout.

Bust: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 14" flat across from side seam to side seam
Inner hips: to 23" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: approx 10" from top of bodice to natural waist
Skirt: 24" from natural waist seam to shortest point of the hem and 52" to the longest part of the hem with 4" turned under

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD4477

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