A/W 1978 Christian Dior Numbered Haute Couture Blue Silk Dress

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This is an incredible dress by Marc Bohan for Christian Dior from the 1978 Fall Haute Couture presentation. It is one of the most dramatic pieces I have even seen and I can just imagine it floating down the runway in its full glory with those fantastical sleeves floating out behind it. I have seen a version of this that would have been special ordered through the Dior boutique with the sleeves and hem cut to the same length - an alteration that the client probably chose to have done at the time for convenience and ease of wearing, but this version is that of the true Haute Couture fantasy vision of Mr Bohan. It not only has the Haute Couture tag present but also the hang written hang tag from Neiman Marcus where it would have been ordered through directly from the atelier in France. The handwritten tag and tag on the dress itself identifies it as being Look #54 from the runway and with an original price of $7,975 which converts to an astounding $29,434.97 in modern dollars. An amazing amount of money to have paid back in 1978. It is made of a vivid blue silk charmeuse and the fabric reminds me of the liquid silks used back in the thirties. It is the kind of fabric that seems to have a life on its own and the color appears to glow it is so true and vibrant. The neckline is cut square with a top stitched pattern that highlights the cut of the neckline. The gown flows from this to the floor and is cut in a long bias cut column with no defined waist. Belting it will give you an entirely different silhouette. Each sleeve is astounding and the length of each is approximately 7 1/2 feet! They are constructed so they are attached to the top part of the shoulder, all the way around to where this meets the neckline. They simply drape over the arm from there and are completely open all down the inner edge. So in effect they are almost like a cape that lies over each arm. About the length of your hand there is a small section of the edging left undone - this allows you to slip a finger through and effectively create a "sleeve" from which the rest of the fabric drapes down from there. I am sure if you wanted your hands to remain completely free you could perhaps loop this to a cuff or bracelet. There are more loops near the bottom and in one photo I have shown this tacked up at the back. You could also loop that end through a belt or secure then with a large brooch. I wish I could find a runway photo of how this was styled for the catwalk as I think that a clever girl could come up with a zillion ways to utilize those little loops and really create some amazing shapes and drapes. It presents as excellent condition but does have some small issues of note. Please read the paragraph below.

Fully lined through the body in a blue tissue silk and closes with hidden set painted metal zipper at the side and hook and eye just above that. Hand finishes to couture standards. 31" high slit on one side. The fabric shows general fading and slight discoloration throughout and there is a small area under each arm that shows discoloration (this does not show when on because of the cut of the sleeves) and also a slight yellowing to the fabric here and there - I have photoed the largest area. The gown is still wearable even with these faults and it is an important Haute Couture piece that with the original tags present is extremely well documented.

Sleeves: 87" approx.
Shoulders: no defined seam
Bust: 17" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 61" from waist to hem (sleeves add 28" to length)

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.
Christian Dior
Excellent. The fabric shows general fading and slight discoloration throughout and there is a small area under each arm that shows discoloration (doesn't show when on), slight yellowing to the fabric here and there. Please read description..
Wear consistent with age and use
Dealer Location
Toronto, Canada
Number of Items
Reference Number
About The Seller
Shrimpton Couture
Toronto ON M5V 2M9
(647) 559-2223
1stdibs Dealer since 2010 Located in Toronto, ON