Saturday, October 19, 2013

History's Runway: A Balenciaga Evening Dress, 1955

Gown of Yellow Satin, Embroidered
Balenciaga, 1955
This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Museum

A masterpiece of yellow satin, this gown is embroidered with matching silk thread and gold pailletes (spangles).  It is lined with a matching chiffon with a separate, inner-lining of white silk.

Designed in Paris by Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972) in 1955, the dress features 
 a strapless, boned bodice joined to a skirt which has been tightly gathered at the back in the center as was the style of the time. A bustle effect is achieved with a series of ruffles.

This gown was worn (with matching gloves) by one Mrs. Fern Bedaux who famously always kept several elegant dresses with her at all times, just in case she was invited to a grand party.  Mrs. Bedaux purchased her entire wardrobe from Balenciaga, amassing a huge collection of his gowns.  Bedaux-an extremely wealthy widow of American millionaire office systems pioneer Charles Bedaux, lived at the Sixteenth Century Chateau de Cand in France where the Duke of Windsor was married after the Abdication Kerfuffle ™ of 1936.

A documentary film was produced about Mrs. Bedaux. 
 Entitled "The Champagne Safari,” it follows the Bedauxs on their famous expedition through Canada. It also revealed that Charles Bedaux had some ties with the Nazi party—not surprising given his association with Wallis Simpson and the former King Edward VIII. 

If you want to be as fashionable as Mrs. Bedaux without the Balenciaga price tag and Nazi ties, you might want to visit our online store and take a look at our always-stylish, exclusive designs.  

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