1950s Ceil Chapman Black Silk Taffeta Full Circle Dress

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This is a brilliant example of Ceil Chapman's early work from the late 1940s to early 1950s and the black taffeta silk design is exquisite. Its the first thing you notice about this dress which has the most unusual construction. The skirt's textured element from a distance looks like a floral design but its actually a large number of circular pleated stitched designs. The way the fabric is pulled and stitched creates an almost 3D effect. We have never seen this work before but it would have taken a very skilled seamstress and an incredible amount of time to do it. The dress style is a classic shirt-waister design with three taffeta covered buttons to fasten the bodice which is beautifully shaped and Princess seamed. The sleeves are three quarter length and feature a folded cuff. The skirt element is lined with a stiffed tulle net which gives structure whilst the bodice is unlined. It is labelled with the early Ceil Chapman label in black with white scroll.

In really excellent vintage condition, the taffeta retains all of its lustre. If we're being exceptionally picky there is a small area of strained seam near the waistband and the two neck darts at the back have been slightly strained also. The dress could be further enhanced with a petticoat though it is very nearly a full circle on its own. Best fit for around a UK 6-8 or US 2.

Ceil Chapman was a female American fashion designer working and designing in NYC from the 1940s to the 1960s. She was revered as a creator of super glamorous cocktail and party dresses and celebrity clients flocked to her for her gowns including Marylin Monroe who declared Ceil Chapman her favourite designer.

Bust - 37 in. (94 cm)
Waist - 25 in. (63.5 cm)
Hip - 52 in. (132.1 cm)
Length - 51 in. (124.5 cm)
Shoulders - 18 in. (45.7 cm)