Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I took one look at this Jean Desses evening gown of 1953 vintage and could almost see the tall blondness of Princess Diana wearing this in the late 80s, still fashionable nearly 40 years after its creation.
This strapless red evening gown highlights his signature draping and pleating of silk chiffon. The skirt is draped in softly gathered swags with a long tie crossing over at the neck to fall down the back.
The pleating across the bodice is a technique he favoured for early evening and formal occasion gowns. While it appears to be soft and unstructured, underneath it had the typical 50s sewn-in figure shaping boned lining.

Desses would often put two similar vibrant shades in the same dress but would soften the intensity by using matt chiffon fabric. He worked directly onto a dressmaker's mannequin, forming patterns by twisting, plaiting and draping the chiffon.

This was not in the exhibition but is owned by the NGV.
It's a Desses evening gown circa 1954 and once again shows his mastery of draping.
It's made of pale pink chiffon over silk taffeta and has tightly gathered fabric over a corselet bodice with a deep horizontally pleated waistband and gathered chiffon straps.
The full length skirt is softly draped, forming an apron-style front with a fall each side making a bouffant shape at the hemline with a kick frill around the edge.


River said...

I love the red one.

Ann oDyne said...

what we all really want is THE LIFESTYLE which requires gowns like these.

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Health + Other Rants is too.

JahTeh said...

River, this was its true colour and it was just vibrant.

O'Dyne, if I had the lifestyle, all I'd need would be silk pj's since I'd be lounging 24/7.

Middle Child said...

beautiful and it should be the right of every woman at some stage in their lives to wear and own dresses like this..thas in a sane world

kat said...

Oh I love the red Desses dress -- my friend and I were in the gallery just today, and we both loved it so much that I had to Google it to see if I could find more information on it! Thank you for putting up the pictures and the information. :)

Ozfemme said...

I was gobsmacked when I saw the red one too. It looked delicious and just think, if I spilt some vodka raspberry on it, you wouldn't know...