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Leonard Paris Silk Jersey Print Dress Documented 1970s
When we think of Paris fashion, the elite dressmakers, ateliers, and meticulous craftsmen of haute couture come to mind. In the early 1960s, Jacques Leonard partnered with Daniel Tribouillard to conceive a fashion company that would differentiate from the traditional tailored silks of haute couture. Utilizing wild prints and easy fabrics, the early designs were publically well-received thus introducing a new version of couture that was rather unorthodox. By the end of the decade Leonard Fashion had changed the meaning of haute couture through their textile focused approach.
This ca.1970 Leonard dress is a perfect example of the house’s unconventional textile uses. On a stark, black ground, shades of marigold, carrot orange, magenta, blue-violet, and sea green are speckled together to form a variety of patterns. Some configurations are reminiscent of a mosaic.
The contrasting border print implies an almost Nordic geometry that has been utilized around the wide neck band, at the waist, the cuffs, and the hem. The overall pattern and colors evoke a warm multinational arts and crafts mood. The dress is unlined and made of a silk jersey fabric. It has a relaxed fit through the long sleeves, and the waist with a columnar silhouette with the hemline hitting just below the knee.
Size estimate: S
Shoulders: 14.5 inches
Sleeves: 23 inches
Bust: 34 inches
Waist: 28 inches
Hips: 37 inches
Length: 41 inches
If the vibrant printed silk jersey—which is signed with the Leonard signature—is not telling of this dresses uniqueness, the deft handling of the print is definitely indicative of its couture status. When viewed from the back the print on the sleeves are perfectly matched, not to mention the flawless matching of the print at the centre back hand-set zip. Professionally cleaned and in excellent condition, 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.