1950s Mr John Couture Black Crepe Shift Dress and Jacket

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This two-in-one little black dress and jacket is by Mr John, a celebrated American couturier and one of the foremost milliners of the 20th century; his most famous costume designs being those made for Vivien Leigh in "Gone with the Wind," Marlene Dietrich in "Shanghai Express," Greta Garbo in "The Painted Veil" and Marilyn Monroe in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." Among the fashionable women who wore his designs were the Duchess of Windsor, Gloria Swanson, Gloria Vanderbilt, Lauren Bacall and Joan Crawford. The New York Times review of his 1956 fall clothing and accessories collection was "a gifted designer and skilled workman who produces some of the most original, wearable, flattering fashions to be seen anywhere."

This evening ensemble was designed in 1956-1959 and tailored to an elegant silhouette with a nipped-in waist and mid-calf length skirt. Thick straps give way to a square neckline trimmed with layers of silk faille. A silver-tone zip and a hook-and-eye clasp secure the gown at the rear and a slit at the bottom hem of the skirt allows for easy movement. The bolero jacket is attached to the dress with large crystal-adorned buttons at the front. It is trimmed with silk faille at the collar and waist. Two pleated tails fall from the rear waist down the length of the skirt, adding a hint of theatre and taking cues from menswear traditions, in particular classic morning jacket styles. This piece is in fantastic vintage condition with no noticeable flaws and will best suit a UK size 8 or US 2-4. Our model is UK 6-8 and 5ft 4in (163cm) and this was roomy on her bust but otherwise fit her well.

Bust - 33 in. (83.82 cm)
Waist - 33 in. (83.82 cm)
Length - 46.5 in. (118.11 cm)

Bust - 33 in. (83.82 cm)
Waist - 25 in. (63.5 cm)
Hip - 36 in. (91.44 cm)
Length - 46.3 in. (117.60 cm)