Romantic c. Early 1960s PIERRE BALMAIN Evening or Wedding Dress in Ivory Silk Chiffon


  • Product Description

      A romantic evening gown by Pierre Balmain, this piece was harder to date conclusively than I thought. My instinct was to call it late 50s, but he used a lot more of this sort of ruching in his 1962 collection (which looked a lot like his 52/3 collections, with less full skirts.) It's very much a ballet inspired dress, with a mood that evokes The Red Shoes.

      The Interior is a columnar lining of satin charmeuse, satin side against the skin. The skirt is two layers of floating silk chiffon, while the bodice is decadently ruched chiffon divided by satin piping. The piping matches the straps and the long ties that hang from the waist. The shape is supported by the internal waistband, which is actually slightly smaller than the dress, so the center back is not as fitted as you think, draping away from the body just a tiny bit. (You could also just hook in a small extension, if you prefer the waist perfectly fitted.) The skirt is soft, incredibly sheer, with the outermost layer cut exceptionally free to fall in soft folds that move with the slightest breeze. 

      The dress closes up the back with a sturdy metal Eclair zipper and the internal hooking waistband. 


      Bust: 34" -snug 35"
      Interior waistband: precisely 24" with no give
      Exterior Waist: 26"
      Hips: 39"
      Length: 49"

      Label: Pierre Balmain, Paris
      Material: Silk Chiffon, Charmeuse Lining
      Condition: Good plus

      Note: please see close ups to best understand condition flaws. The first five photos, with the purple background are, in order: left front of shoulder straps, left side underarm, center right of neckline, right front of shoulder straps, right side underarm. The next closeups show the scattered small spots that are hidden in the volume in the skirt, then the spots to the side of the zipper, and the interior waistband. 

      This dress is clean and ready to wear. It has been dry cleaned and hand washed (of necessity) and carefully hand steamed. The most notable issue that that there remains yellowing at the underarms, and a single spot at the right side of the neckline. This yellowing improved with a gentle wash, but did not lift completely. Most of it will be hidden by your arms when worn, and as stated above, I've taken extreme closeups for you. At the back, where the chiffon is open to either side of the zipper closure, there's pale oil stains. The only thing I can think is that this is from finger oils, frequently holding the skirt down to zip the dress up. Again, this improved with the cleaning, but is not entirely gone. You do have to be looking for it to see it. There is one little pinhole at the same place on the right side.  Finally, there's four small flaws I can find in the skirt, mostly by the hem - all lost in the folds unless you are examining it close up. Two slightly yellowed stains, one tiny bright white spot, and an area that looks like very light smudging. Again, these are all photographed. Finally, the interior lining at the bodice has some scattered yellowing, NOT seen from the exterior. This includes the internal waistband. Lastly, the straps have been moved in the past to be slightly shorter, but they were not cut, and you can adjust them back if needed.

      The dress actually wears really beautifully - for a bride who doesn't demand perfection it would make an dreamy wedding gown. I suspect that this dress was absolutely beloved by someone who wore it over and over. Luckily, there's no structural damage to the silk, which is still soft and strong. I find no other issues to note.
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