Hubert de Givenchy (French, born 1927)
Coral cotton lace reembroidered with coral–colored beads and coral pieces
Gift of Mrs. John Hay Whitney, 1974 (1974.184.2)
Coral with matching glass beads is applied in high relief on the armature of a minimalist Givenchy silhouette. A princess-seam dress skimming the torso, but flaring to the hem, is almost severe, but it is rendered rococo and ornate by the surface treatment. Givenchy's special trait was to find an equilibrium between excess and the reductive. An austere form supports a heavily encrusted embroidery, making a gown that works both as an extravagance and as a spartan design.