1983 Runway Chloe Novelty Musical Instrument Dress

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This is a fine and rare runway documented Chloe musical instrument dress. A showstopping piece designed by Karl Lagerfeld from the spring / summer 1983 collection. Ornately beaded dresses with novelty and surrealist themes were present throughout the catwalk collections of 1973 through to 1984. They are prized as some of the finest designs Lagerfeld produced for this revered French ready-to-wear House and included the magnificent 'shower dresses' and one very documented 'violin' dress from the same collection. We have shown this dress which was featured in the runway presentation finale when in typical Karl style, he would take a turn on the runway The dress was worn by “Mounia” Orosemane, one of the most famous runway models and a muse of Yves Saint Laurent. Despite extensive coverage of this collection, it is a travesty this this dress is not better preserved in photographs.

The dress is made from a black silk feel organza that has a wide waistband that is interspersed horizontally with gold bugle beads and a single row of gold seed beads. It has little caplet sleeves and a round neck but by far, the stand out design is the embellished and appliqued musical instruments on the skirt. There is a singular French horn on the bodice and several more on the skirt together with violins, trumpets and tuba designs. These are exceptionally well made from gold and silver lame, tulle and an assortment of beads and prong set crystals.

The dress fastens to the rear with the original zip that is carefully concealed in between the rows of horizontal beadwork. The dress also featured a key hole opening which fastens with a single button around the beaded neckline.

Condition wise, this is in superb vintage condition and I find no faults of any note. There is no bead loss to speak of, no fading to the organza and all the appliqués are very fresh looking and intact. This is worthy of museum acquisition or one for the collector of fine vintage - its also very wearable. No sizing label remains but the measurements suggest a size fit for up to a UK 10 or US 6. Its possible that this dress may have come with a slip as it is quite sheer but the two have separated. It would look superb with modern body shaping undergarments or a replacement slip.

Bust - 33 in. (83.8 cm)
Waist - 31 in. (78.7 cm)
Hip - 36 in. (91.4 cm)
Length - 44 in. (111.8 cm)
Shoulders - 17 in. (43.2 cm)