A fine and important Balenciaga couture ball gown, Summer 1951. Photo Kerry Taylor Auctions.
Paris labelled and numbered 38643, with cross-over fastening to front bodice, elbow-length sleeves, of ivory taffeta overlaid with tulle, hand-painted to give a shaded-effect to the lace edged and sequined flounces which increase in size from bodice to hem, the hem cut higher at the front and trained at the back, flamenco-style, internally with rows of black taffeta ruffles to give extra fullness, bust 102cm, 40in, waist 66cm, 26in
Exhibited: ‘Balenciaga and Spain’ at the de Young Museum, San Francisco, 2011. See Balenciaga archive image of a similar sleeveless gown from the same collection.
Inner bodice: taffeta back panel is perspiration stained as is chiffon waist lining and taffeta skirt lining just below the waistband, exterior is good though. 7.5cm 3in vertical split in ivory taffeta at left underarm on the under-dress and a patched repair on the other side, small hole at right underarm lining. Two small holes in white tulle over the right breast area, but not immediately noticeable. Faint perspiration stains at underarms. Bodice has been let-out over the bodice side seams approx. 1cm each side and darts approx. 2mm and waist seam re-sewn accordingly. Sleeves have been let out along their length approx. 2cm. Tulle outer dress needs re-stitching at right underarm approx. 3cm. Plain tulle areas of wrap-over with a couple of minor small holes. 3 small holes in tulle rear of bodice. Skirt area: Slight soiling at hem edge but barely noticeable. 2 x 1cm holes in white tulle near right side of skirt. Slight soiling to taffeta lining front left side where it came into contact with the body. Inside of remainder of the skirt is very fresh, good. Part of a ruffle needs re-stitching in place slightly (minor). Outside of skirt is generally good, clean and fresh appearance. Lovely painted shaded areas around the lace motifs. Four small brown spot stains to front skirt, each approx 1cm by 0.5cm diam. Scattering of small holes in tulle near front right hem, the occasional scattered small holes in the white areas overall but nothing too noticeable and generally minor. See photographs. 1cm break in black tulle motif front right hem edge. One small strand of black bauble beads which edges the motifs is loose but we have secured it in place. Beading and sequinning is generally good and intact. Slight wear to tulle around front waist hook-eye closure on the inside. Label is detached on one side.
Kerry Taylor Auctions. Jun 24, 2014. 249 Long Lane, London, SE1 4PR, United Kingdom