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Basha Gold

Fabulous Vintage Galanos Polka Dot Silk Pleated Belted Dress, 1980s


Prolific designer James Galanos is known for his luxurious ready-to-wear collections that were crafted to couture standards. Galanos oversaw every detail of his work, even traveling to Europe to source the best fabrics and unique buttons for his designs. He launched his first label, Galanos Originals, in 1951, and was the youngest designer to win the prestigious Coty Award in 1954.

His masterful work with chiffon marked the beginning of an astoundingly successful career, opening the way for Galanos to design for socialites and stars such as Judy Garland, Rosalind Russel, Grace Kelly, and First Lady Nancy Reagan. One of the first designers to be honored on the Fashion Walk of Fame in New York City, Galanos’s work is held at major museums worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

From the 1980’s, this beautifully made dress is a fine example of Galanos’s work. Done in silk, the dress features a colorful polka dot print in shades of purple, red, amber, and turquoise on top of an abstract black and white ground. The mesmerizing print is further enhanced by the dynamic horizontal and vertical pleats that make up the body of dress, creating a pleasing rhythm throughout.

Size estimate: SML/MED


Shoulders: 14 inches

Sleeves: 24 inches

Bust: up to 36 inches

Waist: 28 inches (can cinch smaller if needed with belt)

Hips: 36 inches

Length: 38.5 inches

The layered, pleated bodice begins with a bateau neckline and long puff sleeves that reach just above the wrist. Visible black stitching along the rows of pleats adds an element of subtle elegance that further emphasizes the lines of the body. An accompanying belt of the same fabric may be worn cinched at the waist for extra definition, giving this dress a more formal feel.

The double layer, knife-pleated skirt creates a playful sense of movement, falling from a flattering drop waist which serves to elongate the torso. The hem of the bottom layer of the skirt grazes the knees to create a youthful, classic silhouette that has all the hallmarks of a fabulous 80’s dress. A playful addition to the discerning fashion lover’s wardrobe, this dress is the perfect choice for a cocktail party or special occasion.

This Galanos dress is fully lined in black silk chiffon and has button closures at the cuffs and a concealed back zip. The matching silk belt is backed in leather and has a fully adjustable side closure. In excellent condition, this 1980’s dress has been professionally eco dry cleaned and pressed. 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.

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