Beautiful late 1950’s, early 1960’s Helena Barbieri draped black silk chiffon evening gown. Helena Barbieri was a New York fashion designer known for her tasteful high-end evening wear, in particular these column-like gowns of draped chiffon, and this dress is wonderful example. Here is a 1956 film clip from Universal’s “Fashion Parade” with models wearing Barbieri’s designs. The draping begins at the left back shoulder with a large satin bow, fanning out across the back and falling into a sweeping swag of fabric down the left backside. View the photo of the swag being held out to get an idea of just how much fabric makes up this swag. The draping wraps around the right side into finely tacked ruching, fanning out across the front bodice and right hip with subtle tacked folds in the fabric. The dress is composed of several layers of chiffon and lined with a medium weight black rayon crepe. bodice itself is heavily constructed, the outer layer of sheer chiffon over the rayon and a bustier inner layer of more rayon crepe with boning (five bones total). Side back slit in skirt. Tiny rolled chiffon straps. Dress opens in two layers with two metal zippers up the left back side, the first being for the rayon bustier and the second for the dress. Labels read, “Helena Barbieri Original” and “Robinson’s California”. The bow can be easily removed if you are looking for a simpler design.
Condition: Excellent. No stains, loose seams, or noticeable holes or wear. There is one tiny pin hole and a pull on the front left side of the skirt, one above the other, which are not noticeable. These were probably places where the fabric was tacked at one time because there is draping along the left hip, but we could not figure out exactly how it was positioned, so have left it as it is. There are tiny pulls in the chiffon here and there, but nothing noticeable. One small snagged hole toward the hem in the swag and one tiny snagged hole along the bustier edge, not noticeable. A little iron shine on the bow.
Waist: 28 1/2″-29″
Length down front center: 51 1/2″
Length down side seam: @50″ from top edge at underarm down side seam to hem
Length with straps (down side): 57″/58″
Skirt Length: 40″/41″
Bodice Length: 8″ from top edge at underarm down side seam to the hem