Evening ensemble

Design House: House of Balenciaga (French, founded 1937)

Designer: Cristobal Balenciaga (Spanish, Guetaria, San Sebastian 1895–1972 Javea)

Date: fall/winter 1950–51

Culture: French

Medium: silk, metallic, beads, rhinestones

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Byron C. Foy, 1953

Accession Number: C.I.53.40.10a–d


This evening dress (a) of white satin embroidered with gold and silver braid, silver beads, and rhinestones, has a huge bronze taffeta sash (b) over the hips and a bow in back forming a slight train. The long matching gloves (c, d) are made of bronze taffeta.

The dress is a strapless sheath with allover embroidery executed in a medallion pattern surrounded by a leafy scroll motif. The top and hem have a wide border of encrusted beads on a lamé ground. The boned bodice, lined with white silk, is seamed to the slim skirt at the waist. The sash has a large bow with fringed streamers, creating the effect of a bustle. The gloves of above-elbow length, with ten buttons, complete the ensemble.

The dress is a couture copy of model 52 from the fall/winter 1950 runway show that was featured in Harper's Bazaar magazine (November 1950, p. 120).