Chanel 1980s Cardinal Red Silk Floral Print Dolman Sleeve Midi Dress
Built upon a premise of fierce independence and a powerful celebration of the female form, Chanel was borne from the imaginings of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, who having opened her first shop in 1909 in Paris, drew upon her desire to simplify an otherwise overly ornate fashion scene, dominated by wealthy men of industry and the socialites of the era.
Selling her exquisitely designed hats to those with the means to buy them, Gabrielle soon moved to creating sportswear for the discerning and affluent woman, while utilising the flexibility of jersey in order to allow greater freedom of movement.
Her success later gave rise to a second shop in rue Cambon, Paris, which devoted itself to the sale of dresses, blazers, blouses, sweaters and skirt-suits, again constructed from the seemingly diverse jersey fabric used previously.
This clever cross-design gave birth to the now renowned ‘Chanel Suit’ while underpinning Gabrielle’s deeply held ethos that ‘simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance’, a philosophy that remains true even today.
With WWII dismantling the Chanel brand through controversy and Nazi interference, Gabrielle was left fighting for control, until the 1950s, where the company resurfaced with leather bags, perfumes and jewellery, as had been developed prior to wartime, yet with an emphasis on masculine fragrances and a continuation of the jersey-based clothing line so appreciated by the buying public.
After Gabrielle’s death in 1971, Jacques Wertheimer acquired control of the firm and it has remained in his family since then, while particular focus upon the development of fragrances and cosmetics, along with the introduction of watches, sunglasses and fine jewellery has shown a departure from the simple, yet timeless designs made famous by the late Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel.
This is a truly spectacular piece of late 1970s early 1980s haute couture, finished in a divinely resplendent crushed cardinal red. Fluid floral berry motif fabric with swathes of utter opulence drape your form with a smooth, ever-so-slightly bohemian freedom, while reminiscent to the Yves Saint Laurent 1976 Russian collection.
Also featured are slight dolman/bishop cuffed sleeves, neat at the shoulder, gathered at the wrists with deep cuffs and a singular fabric covered button to secure. The main body of the dress wraps the figure wonderfully, skimming the décolleté, cinching the waistline while showing just enough skin to preserve modesty, while the skirting follows a button through design, sealed and demure, or free and open, allowing a bare leg to just peek though with each and every step.
Fabric 100% silk
Size No label present but will fit UK 12-14
Excellent (condition chart)
Imperfections Tiny 1 mm pull to right upper shoulder and a few marks (very well hidden amongst the folds of fabric) barely visible until close inspection
One nick to the fabric right centre skirted area well hidden amongst the folds of fabric
Measured flat without stretching (please double for complete size)
Neckline Opening 8.5″
Shoulder To Shoulder (across back) 12″
Bust (at widest point) 20″
Length (collar to hem) 45″
Sleeve Length (underarm to cuff) 19″
Sleeve Length (collar to cuff) 27″
Mannequin is UK 8-10 | Bust 31.5″ | Waist 24″ | Hips 34.5″
The dress was not pinned for photography purposes