Charles James, born 1906 – died 1978
Miss Baba Beaton wore this dress when she married Mr Alec Hambro on 6 November 1934. It is an early example of the work of the designer Charles James. It anticipates later developments in his style, particularly his approach to complex cut. The beauty of the design lies in its deceptive simplicity and the designer’s complete understanding of the potential of the fabric.
Darts and seams shape the smooth ivory satin, which clings and drapes around the body in order to enhance the graceful figure. James said, ‘all my seams have meaning – they emphasise something about the body’.
Circumference: 66 cm waist, Circumference: 84 cm bust, Circumference: 68 cm diaphragm, Length: 150 cm overall, Length: 40 cm to waist, Width: 40 cm centre back, Width: 42 cm shoulder to shoulder, Length: 62 cm sleeve, over, Length: 52 cm sleeve, under, Circumference: 80 cm hips, Circumference: 18 cm wrist
Silk satin, trimmed with wax orange-blossom, cut on the bias
Although he was born in Britain, James worked as a milliner and custom dressmaker in New York between 1924 and 1929. In 1929 he opened premises in London. During the early 1930s he travelled extensively between London and Paris, establishing a Paris branch in 1934. Like Elsa Schiaparelli he was a friend of the Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí and made use of Surrealist influences in his designs.
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Antony Price, born 1945
Closely swathing the figure, the silk taffeta of this dramatically structured garment is formed into large, irregular gathers diagonally positioned across the front. These culminate in an asymmetrical bodice, with an extraordinary, gravity defying shoulder extension. Designer Antony Price called this his ‘Bird’s Wing’ dress; the rigid folds of fabric with their feathered and serrated edge evoke associations of flight and movement. It was designed for his 1986 Winter collection.
The simple, white taffeta, with its glossy, reflective sheen offsets the complex structure of the garment. The designer’s choice of a stiff fabric allows the raised folds to retain their shape and make the dress virtually self-supporting. The folds are held in place by large, self-covered buttons which secure the dress at the side, and also provide an important visual motif. In contrast the back is quite plain, a simple bodice with a single shoulder strap and a straight, skirt fitted with darts into the waist seam.
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En nomination aux Oscars 2013 dans la catégorie Meilleur film étranger