KCIDigital Archives

The KCI Digital Archives on the KCI website presents image and text information for the objects in the collection, arranged in chronological order.

Evening Dress

© The Kyoto Costume Institute, photo by Takashi Hatakeyama

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Evening Dress

Spring/Summer 1956

Pierre Balmain
Pierre Balmain
PIERRE BALMAIN PARIS (80.030 Hand writing)
White with red-poppy-patterned silk taffeta "chiné"; poppy flower pieces appliquéd on bodice; black faille belt.
Inventory Number(s)
AC10365 2000-33

This evening dress from the 1950s is reminiscence of the crinoline style. However, the large poppies scattered all over it belong to a fresh new modernism. This is an example of the flamboyant flower patterns that were popular in the 1950s. The textile was manufactured by Staron, one of the silk fabric manufacturers in Saint-Etienne, a representative area of the silk textile industry in France favored by Haute Couture studios in those days. During the same season, Jacques Fath (1912–1954) and Jean Dessès (1904–1970) also used the same fabric with their dresses.
Pierre Balmain became independent in 1945, and his main customers were the wealthy ladies known as "Jolie Madames." Together with Dior, Balmain was one of the couturiers who revived traditional elegance in Paris in the 1950s.