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A fine and important Balenciaga couture evening ensemble with ‘matador’ passementerie, circa 1948. Photo Kerry Taylor Auctions.

un-labelled, of gold backed aubergine silk velvet, the bodice with spectacular shaped collar adorned with three dimensional gold braided florets and fronds which are further embellished with gold sequins and coils of purl wire, the hem and collar edged in black ‘Spanish’ fringing, four buttons to fasten, the slender skirt with fixed draped pleats to the front culminating in bustle-like ties to the back which reveal the gold backing to the tails, bust 86cm, 34in, waist 61cm, 24in (2).

Balenciaga’s Autumn-Winter 1948 collection featured draped effects on skirts with ties or floating panels to the side. His collections between 1943-47 frequently included highly embellished ‘bullfighter’ bodices and boleros with lavish beading and fringing. This ensemble is important not only as an early example of Balenciaga’s oeuvre but also for its spectacular embellishment and elegance.

Kerry Taylor Auctions. Jun 24, 2014. 249 Long Lane, London, SE1 4PR, United Kingdom

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