Formerly attributed to House of Balenciaga (French, founded 1937)
Richard Tam (American, 1941–1990)
silk, linen, feathers
Gift of Louise Rorimer Dushkin, 1980
Not on view
Taking its cue from the dancing dress, this dress was an obvious choice for cocktails, with its lighthearted feather skirt and simple, pared-down construction. By the late 1950s, the etiquette barring bare arms before eight o'clock in the evening was no longer adhered to, allowing a variety of sleeveless and even slightly décolleté pieces to infiltrate the cocktail venue. Undoubtedly worn with a pair of elbow-length gloves and a cocktail hat, this dress falls to the appropriate just-below-the-knee length in front, but has a more formal train. Silk gazar, a mat high-twist textile, was a wonderful execution for the cocktail hour. Gazar's texture and drape were lavish, but certainly did not exhibit the ostentation of evening wear.