bill blass

Stunning Fall 1970 Bill Blass Pink Quilted Silk Floral Pattern Metallic Dress w Banded Waist

This is one of two dresses that I have in the shop from Blass from this time period and it is incredible. Bill Blass worked for the Maurice Retner label for 10 years as the chief designer. In 1968 the Bill Blass Inc label became a subsidiary of the Retner label. Then in 1970 he fully bought out his partners at the Maurice Retner label and re-launched it under his own name as Bill Blass Ltd. 1970 was the same year that he won his third Coty American Fashion Critics' Award and with it, his lifetime membership in the Coty Hall of Fame. By 1980 the company was doing 20 million dollars in revenue. He was arguably one of the most famous of all the American designers. By the eighties his work was even more ornate and luxurious than what he had done in the past. Prices for dresses could be as high as $5000 (which would be about $15,000 today). He was once asked why his clothes were so expensive and he replied, 'I'm an avid believer that we have to have clothes made in this country. Therefore we pay more money. ... The cost of labor and fabrication is what makes the clothing expensive.'

This is an exceptional dress. It is a stunning example of his work during this time period and these metallic pieces are among my favorites by him. This one even more so with its pretty pink colour and extraordinary fabric. The fabric is the perfect shade of soft pink used to create a floral design and that is mixed with a soft green for the leaves. Some of the pattern is raised and has been embroidered into the fabric. The thread used is incredibly soft and this adds yet another dimenesion to the dress. Woven over and through the silk is a muted gold lurex thread that give the fabric its metallic glitz and makes it gleam and glitter in the light. This same thread is also used to create the horizontal rows that you see. The gold covers the dress from head to toe. The neckline is a cut into a high V and the bodice crosses over itself and skims over you. This is then is balanced beautifully by those spectacular sleeves. Each sleeve is cut extra long so when it is on an actual body it will bunch up a bit on the arm for added texture. Set just under the bust is a wide band of the same fabric that wraps all the way around you and snaps and hooks into place. The crossed over bodice above and this wise high set belt is what gives the dress its nod to a kimono and obi. This tops the skirt that is set to widen out as it nears the floor. On one side and extending down from where it crosses on the bust it has a soft pleat that falls all the way to the floor. This adds a little extra detail and volume and it also hides a small pocket set along the inner seam. The hem has been let down at some point and it is supermodel long as a result. Blass did a soft version of a kimono inspired dress for this collection as well and that one was photoed on Candice Bergen. I have included it here as they do share some similarities. This dress is an absolutely beautiful. Excellent condition with a note below.

The fabric is self backed in a muslin throughout. You step into it and then it closes with a series of hidden snaps. The belt is attached and it snaps and hooks into place. Hand finishes. The hem was let down at some point and it is ribbon finished. It poufs a bit at the edge as there are spots where it was stitch in to sit proper when it is hemmed. If you needed the full length you could just take those out. It could be worn as is but I've left it so you could redo the hem to your perfect length. You can see a slight grubbiness here and there were the hem was. The hem was very deep and the length turned up under the sleeves is also very deep.

Sleeves: approx 25" w 3" turned under. It is 16" around the widest part of the upper arm
Shoulders: no defined seam
Bust: to 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Seam under the bust: 16" flat across from side seam to side seam
Natural waist: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 21" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 10" from top of shoulder to seam under the bust
Skirt: 52" from seam under the bust to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-MED

Item# DD4293

Referece photo: (1) Fall 1970 Bill Blass Advance Preview.  /  (2) Candice Bergen Wearing A Bill Blass Dress, Vogue 1970.

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