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Saz by Surjit & Adarsh Gill Silk Cut Out Dress Dress, 1970s
Surjit and Adarsh Gill, the sister duo from India, launched Saz in New York in 1969. Their beautiful, feminine designs featured embroidered silks and were, as noted in an article for The New York Times, “Based on the assumption that in every crisp, tailored woman there is a mysterious enchantress yearning to come out at night.” Their pieces seemed to fulfill this desire, with an early collection being described as “…the sort of Arabian Nights dream the assembled women had been hoping to see come true.”
Rather than simply reproduce the Sari for the West, the sisters created a “mini-sari” inspired by the traditional garb, which favored short bodices paired with long skirts. It was one of their most recognizable silhouettes, along with triangular hem lines and pants paired with tunics. Done in 100% hand woven sheer silk, this Saz by Surjit & Adarsh Gill Dress is whimsical and seductive at once. The dress derives inspiration from the sister’s “mini-sari”, with its fitted peek-a-boo bodice and maxi length skirt that reaches a few inches above the ankles.
Featuring an abstract pattern of white diamonds, squares, circles, and rectangles on a black ground, the dress has an underlayer of opaque black silk which brings the print to life. The sheer bodice begins with a high neckline and long sleeves, providing the perfect canvas for the fitted underlayer of black silk beneath it, featuring a triangular neckline and a midriff baring cut out above the waist.
The back of the bodice is largely unlined, and is partially open with a slit that reaches from the closure at the neck to the zip at the waist, which, paired with the sheer sleeves, brings another risqué element to the dress. The diamond pattern on the front of the bodice emphasizes the cut-out shapes of the black silk underlayer and the v shape neckline, offering a nice contrast to the pattern of squares on the skirt, sleeves, and back of the bodice, drawing the eye upwards.
Size estimate: XS
Shoulders: 14 inches
Bust: 32 inches
Sleeves: 23 inches
Waist: 23.5 inches
Hips: 34 inches
Length: 57 inches
The skirt falls from the fitted waist in beautifully draped box pleats at the front, and a magnificent inverted pleat at the center back of the dress, which is emphasized by a section of plain black silk on the lower half of the skirt. The pleats bring a fullness to the otherwise columnar silhouette of the dress, giving it a more formal feel, while creating a ruffled, high-low hem that floats several inches above the ankles. The perfect choice for a wedding or special occasion, this elegant silk dress is sure to impress.
This Saz by Surjit & Adarsh Gill dress is lined at the bodice and skirt and has a closure at the back of the neck and a zip at the waist, leaving the center back partially open. The sleeves are fitted with concealed snaps at the wrists, and there is a padded bra piece inside.
In very good condition, this dress has light wear throughout and 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.