Since falling for the Green 1955 evening dress I have been researching Herbert de Givenchy. He is most famous, perhaps, for dressing Audrey Hepburn. Isn’t this just lovely? A huge, deeply pleated skirt, attached to a slim yoke, coupled with a very neat shell bodice. This outfit must have quite a lot of support under it to look so dramatic.
Pink evening wear was obviously the name of the game in the mid 1950s and here are two McCalls patterns by Givenchy – we know that these two are supported by tiered petticoats the dressmaker could make at home.
This look was also developed for daywear in very innovative and surprisingly modern incarnations by Givenchy. Remember he had been working for Schiaparelli for a few years. In these dresses I think there is couture tailoring – padding, pleating, gathering, underlining and lining.
When we look at the evening wear there is more evidence of under structures possibly being relied on.
So in order to have a try at draping over understructures I made a hip belt with two “croissants” sewn onto them. I sewed a couple of matching kidney or crescent shaped articles and stuffed them with what my American tutor called “Polyfiller” – polyester, recycled stuffing. And then attached them to a cotton belt. It’s not very sophisticated but it did the job for my Givenchy attempts.
I have recently heard about an exhibition of 1850-1890 understructures at the Museum of Costume and Lace in Brussels. This goes on until April. My birthday is at the end of March so I have an idea. I will organise a weekend trip to Brussels to see the exhibition. Anyone want to come? Or meet us there?