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1970s Jean Varon Ombre Geometric Wool Knit Bohemian Low-Cut Plunge Maxi Dress
British designer John Bates felt his name was not “French” enough to make it in the fashion world. Enter pseudonym Jean Varon. A somewhat lost character from the 1960s fashion scene, Bates’ work was considered to be edgy, fresh, and ahead of its time. This dress is a rare find and excellent example of “Jean Varon’s” unique way of highlighting the natural female form.
It features an interlocking weave of earth-colored wools, which are used to create a geometric tapestry of triangular shapes. The cream white and yellow ochre trim provides visual emphasis to the plunging separated neckline, which stops short at the empire waistline. Elbow length sleeves are slim cut and edged with the same wide trim as the neckline. The full length skirt is both easy and crisp, closing with a center back zip.
The overall effect is a fantastic blend of hippie chic and the modern woman. A Women’s Wear Daily article from 1964 describes John Bates’ work as, “…rebellious, effervescent, dedicated – a cornerstone in London’s new school…his work runs from the fairly zany…to classic and simple.” Indeed, this exceptional dress wears as well today as it did in the 1970s. (WWD, 109:56, Sept. 18, 1964, pp 4-5.)
Bust: 32-34 inches
High waist: 26 inches
Hips: 36 inches
Length: 55 inches
This wool maxi dress designed by John Bates is in excellent condition. Made from a stunning tapestry of earth-colored wools, the dress features a deep separated neckline. Cream white and yellow ochre trim add an overall neatness to the dress, emphasizing the plunging neckline, slim sleeves and full-length hem. The dress, which has been professionally cleaned and pressed, is unlined and has a center back metal zipper. High-quality vintage pieces like this are yours to live in and love while increasing in value every year. It’s never too soon to start collecting them, as an investment in your wardrobe—and in yourself.