Cristobal Balenciaga (Spanish, 1895–1972)
Silk, suede; (a) L. 39 1/2 in. (100.3 cm); L. bodice center back: 17 in. (43.2 cm); L. skirt 32 1/2 in. (82.5 cm); waist 23 3/4 in. (60.3 cm); (b) L. 31 in. (78.7 cm), W. 2 1/8 in. (5.3 cm)
Gift of Mrs. John Chambers Hughes, 1958 (C.I.58.34.28a,b)
This cocktail dress (a) of silk chiffon is printed in a large stylized poppy print in shades of red with green stems on a black ground, with a wide contour belt (b) of black suede. The dress has a wide flared collar that is flat across the high back neckline, falling in ripples at each side of the deep V-shaped neckline in front, above the crossover closing below the bustline. The bodice has a one-piece back and a two-piece front fitted with one waistline dart at each side of the front and back. Wrist-length fitted sleeves are cut-in-one with the bodice and have a gusset set-in under each arm. The bodice and sleeves are lined with plain black chiffon. The full "Zouave" skirt of gathered chiffon is draped in loose folds over a ten-gore flared foundation of black taffeta, with the chiffon extending slightly below the foundation, gathered under and attached inside the hemline. The dress is fastened with snaps and a hook-and-thread loop at the center front, and has a zipper closing under the left arm. The wide contour belt of black suede, with a buckle covered in suede, encircles the waist.