This is a very rare, museum quality example of Gustave Tassell, who was one of the great American Couturiers. Example of his work are extremely hard to come by and most are only found in museum collections! For those not familiar with his work, Tassell won a Coty Award in 1962, was worn by Jacqueline Kennedy and designed for the house of Norell when Normal Norell died. This piece predates his work for Norell and is form the period between1959-1972 when he was running his own couture house.
Making this particular dress even a little more special is that it was owned by Loretta Young. Inside the lining of the dress is a hang tag with her name on it. I have no other provenance then that and have had this in my archives for years and years. At the time when I bought it the owner had said that it was bought an an auction and I had no reason to not take that at face value. Oscar winner, Loretta Young was a beautiful actress who had a long standing film career. She was reputed to have had an affair with Clark Gable and became a household name with her TV show The Loretta Young Show. I believe this dress to have been from or about the time period of her TV show (1953-61)
The dress itself is extraordinary. It has a sculptural feel to it and is almost regal in its line and cut. The heavy ribbed silk fabric is showcased to the extreme and indeed it seems the fabric becomes a design element itself. Off the body it seems even more structured and retains all the wonderful shape you see here. On the body those strict architectural influences lines somehow transform and become easy to wear. The bodice skims over the body and molds to a ribbon highlight waist. The skirt is just a masterpiece of construction with deep pleats set between the wide panels of fabric. Pockets lie hidden under the fold at the front for an extra bit of chic. It is a rare dress with a fabulous Hollywood pedigree and even beyond that, is a stunning example of a great American Couturier. Excellent condition
Fully lined through the bodice in a fine, high grade, hand set, cream silk and is interlined through the skirt with a silk organza and then has in inner silk skirt for the lining. It closes with a back painted, hand set, metal zipper. Hand finished. The silk satin belt is partially attached to the waist and snaps into place around the waist where it is not, it closes under the bow with hook & eye. Each pocket is lined in a high grade silk.
Bust: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 15" flat across from side seam to side seam
Inner skirt hips: 20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 37.5" from neck to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
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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1stdibs seller since 2010
Located in Toronto, ON