Well Documented Fall 1972 Christian Dior by Marc Bohan Haute Couture Black Silk Chiffon Dress
The notes for the 1972 collection in the book 'Dior, The Catwalk' tell us that The New York Times declared Marc Bohan's collection for Dior as 'the best of the season in Paris' that year. There was also the information that of all the Dior collections, the full records for this particular one did not survive the passages of time so finding a piece that is so well documented is a bit of a miracle. The version of this dress that has a higher neck line and tie bow was photoed by Richard Avedon that year. It was also shot for the September issue of Vogue and one is held in the V&A collection. When I found these photos I also found the caption that went with the Vogie shot and I lovedhow it described the dress: "Pretty. That's really the word for it - the softness of everything at Dior. So feminine at night especially...The flirt of the sleeves on a short dress for evening...black mousseline, covered at the neck and yet...revealing lots of skin beneath and lots of leg below". During this time period Bohan often made a series of couture dresses that had different necklines so that his client could choose their level of modesty that they were comfortable with. I love both versions but I think I prefer this lower V neckline when it comes to actually wearing it. It allows those spectacular sleeves to take full centre stage and that little extra skin gives it a more modern twist. You can also wear a wide variety of jewels with this neckline and I think that gives you more styling opportunities. The dress is exceptional.
This is an exceptional example of his work during this time period. The dress is entirely made from a feather light silk chiffon. This fabric is notoriously difficult to work with and when you add in that it was all entirely made by hand the level of workmanship takes on a whole new meaning. There is a slight texture to the fabric and this helps to lift and add volume while still keeping the weight to the absolute minimum. The sleeves are incredible. Each sleeve is a single layer of that fine silk chiffon and they are cut to be extremely full. As they near the cuffs the shape is further exaggerated and they poufed over their cuffs. Just above the elbow is a panel of the same silk that has been wrapped and attached around the arm. This lays over the lower portion of the sleeve and is set so that it flares out. It is a very unusual treatment to the sleeves and instantly catches the eye. When you move it has a beautiful floating movement to it that you can see in the reference photos. The bodice skims over you and a simple collarless V runs down the front. It plunges almost to the waist and is stopped by a tiny stitch at the base of the V. The skirt is made of layers of silk chiffon that are set on the bias. There are two of the black and then a nude silk under that. The shape this creates mimics the detailing on the sleeve and when you move the skirt also will move. At the back is the final perfect detail. It has been finished with just a single layer of chiffon so that you see the entire bare back though the silk for an unexpected touch of sensuality. This is a rare piece of fashion history. The proper Haute Couture label is present and is dated and numbered. Excellent condition with a small note below
Fully lined in a nude silk chiffon except for the sleeves and upper back above the waist. The back closes with a low set, fine metal zipper and then the dress snaps to close with a series of tiny snaps up the back of the dress that run over the zipper, past the waist to the neck. Each cuff buttons to close. There is a tiny area of thinning on the top of one shoulder. Please see the photo after the label shot. Minor repair along the hem. Entirely made by hand. The Haute Couture label is present and the dress is numbered #01340
Bust: 16" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 12" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 15" from top of bodice to waist
Skirt: 24" from waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML
Reference Photos: (1) Karen Graham in a chiffon dress by Marc Bohan for Dior, Autumn/Winter Collection 1972, photo by Richard Avedon, July 1972. / (2) Dior dress in Vogue, September 1972. / (3) 1972 Christian Dior Dress part of the V&A Collection.
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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