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Fall 1963
Evening dress

Background Fashion reporters marveled at the large selection of luxury fabrics Mainbocher used to craft his Fall 1963 collection. In his use of this outsized floral patterned velvet, the designer evokes a device popularized by Maison Worth almost a century earlier. This simple creation, made for Mrs. John D. Rockefeller III, makes a monumental statement through the pairing of its wearer’s stature and its grand-scale motif. Description Full-length; high round neck, deep narrow square in back; sleeveless; natural waist, slightly gathered; attached ¾"-wide self belt; flared skirt, wide box pleat at back waist, pieced at lower side seams; attached ¾"-wide self belt; left side zipper; bodice lined in pink taffeta; skirt faced with sized silk gauze. Garment structure The flared skirt has been slightly altered at the waist from its original configuration of wide-set box pleat at both center front and back, partially substituting random shirring for the original left-hand pleat. The waist seam is concealed by an attached self-fabric belt which hooks closed over the left side zipper. The dress has unusually wide seam allowances that serve to support the breadth of the skirt. Gift of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, 1983.

REFERENCE
83.58.2
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Pale pink voided panné velvet, bold chrysanthemum pattern on slubbed-weft satin ground
Label: Mainbocher Inc.
Bust measurement: 34½”
Waist measurement: 28”
Center back length: 52½
Fall 1963
Evening dress

Background Mainbocher rejected the psychedelic look of mid-1960s fashions. Remaining consistent with his own design philosophy, he maintained his enduring fad-free style, showcasing as many of each season’s splendid textiles in classic silhouettes, such as this long evening dress made of gold metallic matelassé. Description Full-length; sleeveless; wide round neck; natural waist; applied kite-shaped stomacher panel overlapping waist seam; ¾" attached self-belt with concealed side closure; straight skirt, slightly gathered at waist; center front hem vent to knee level; center back zipper closure; lined in cream silk crepe. Garment structure As beautifully finished on the inside as it is on the outside, the dress is lined with cream-colored silk crepe to the neck and armhole edges. The seams are finished with silk bindings or turned-under edges, preventative treatments against any potential irritation that might be caused by the metallic threads of the textile. Gift of Mr. Robert Winthrop, 1986.

REFERENCE
86.60.10
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Gold metallic and natural linen matelassé in foliate bizarre pattern
Label: Mainbocher Inc.; Fall 1963 (typed tape label)
Bust measurement: 36½”
Waist measurement: 28”
Center back length: 54
Fall 1964
Evening ensemble

Background From a fall collection dominated by modern, casual outerwear for evening, this cashmere twill ensemble is ornamented only by large mother-of-pearl buttons and teamed with a sleeveless blouse of color-matched lace. It was made for Barbara (Babe) Paley, a perennial member of the Best-Dressed List and Hall of Fame. A photograph of her wearing this ensemble appeared the next day in newspapers around the country. Description Skirt Beige twill; full-length, lightly flared, lightly gathered into waistband; center back zipper closure; lined in camel china silk. Jacket Cream twill; semi-fitted; hip-length; square collar; bracelet-length sleeves; horizontal seam across bust; flap pockets at front hips; stylized, decorative epaulets; four oversized mother-of-pearl buttons. Blouse Cream lace over crepe; fitted shell; sleeveless; high round neck; godets at hem; center back zipper closure. Garment structure The jacket epitomizes the art of haute couture construction. The square collar is hand padded and fell-stitched to the jacket body; the non-working pocket flaps and decorative epaulets are invisibly hand applied. The seam across the bust serves two purposes—design interest as well as an inconspicuous fitting element. The set-in sleeves are bracelet length, the bound buttonholes shaped at the end so that the mother-of-pearl button will set in the buttonhole without shifting. The plain weave silk lining is hand sewn at all edges and the armholes. The skirt is cut from one fabric length, joined with a center back seam. The waistband is faced with silk crepe to reduce bulk. All edges are hand sewn and the center front is marked with cross-stitches. The center back zipper laps right over left in the French manner and the opening is stabilized with seam binding. It is hand sewn with running stitches and again at the edges with fell stitches to prevent the tape from curling. The three hooks and eyes of the overlapping closure are sewn with blanket stitches. The seams are overcast by hand. The blouse is inset with four godets extending from waist to hem to accommodate hip dimension. The center back zipper extends below the shell hemline to allow the wearer to step into the garment. The inner seams are clipped and the corners trimmed to enable them to lie flat. All edges are hand-overcast finished. Worn by the donor at the opening New York gala for the film premiere of the musical "My Fair Lady," October 21, 1964. Gift of Mrs. William S. Paley.

REFERENCE
72.3.1A-B
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Beige cashmere twill; cream cashmere twill; cream cordonnet machine lace over cream satin-back crepe
Label: Mainbocher Inc.
Skirt:
Waist measurement: 25”
Center back length: 45”
Jacket:
Bust measurement: 36”
Center back length: 23½”
Blouse:
Center back length: 23½”
ADDITIONAL IMAGES
Fall 1964
Evening dress

Background Belted looks for all hours entered the Mainbocher repertoire in the mid-1960s, distinguishing them from loose, trendy chemise and tent silhouettes. This rhinestone-buckled evening dress of fine Scottish wool crepe was photographed for the September 22, 1964, "New York Journal-American." Description Full-length; surplice-effect shallow V-neck; sleeveless; slightly raised waistline; straight skirt, lightly gathered at front; deep center front hem vent; 1" self-belt, rounded rectangular buckle in silvertone metal set with rhinestones; left side zipper closure; lined in black china silk; short drop lining of black silk crepe in front skirt. Garment structure The bias-cut draped bodice is supported by a silk underlay to maintain its shape and prevent gaping. The spreading, rounded neckline is balanced in the back by a slightly deeper V. Joined to the bodice at the natural waist, the four-panel skirt has a 15” center front walking slit from just below the knee to the hem. A deep hem contributes added weight, allowing the skirt to drape gracefully. Gift of Mr. Robert Winthrop, 1986.

REFERENCE
86.60.26
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Black worsted crepe; clear emerald-cut rhinestones
Label: Mainbocher Inc.; Mrs. R. Winthrop 814. F. ’64 (tape label)
Bust measurement: 33”
Waist measurement: 28”
Center back length: 49½”
Belt:
33” long x 1” wide
Spring 1965
Evening dress

Background A Mainbocher client was confident of wearing a timeless design and never need be concerned about looking outmoded. This Spring 1965 ivory silk evening gown was designed to look as impeccable at the time of its later wearing as it was at the moment of its inception. Description Full-length; wide scoop neck; sleeveless; bolero-effect draping on bodice, fan-pleated into center back waist under tailored bow; A-line skirt; 7/8" applied band with pavé rhinestone snaffle bit at center front; center back zipper closure; lined in cream china silk; white grosgrain waist stay. Garment structure The underside of the front bodice drape is simply finished by turning the edge under and catch-stitching it in place. The silk facing at the armhole edge has been hand-sewn with the addition of a tiny line of catch-stitches to stabilize the lining and keep it from blousing outward. The bodice back overlay is fan-pleated into knife-edged rays, which converge at center back waist. The outermost pleat is hand-tacked into place. All are held by an applied bow. The 2” grosgrain interior waist-cinching stay is hand tacked to the bodice lining and is released 1¾” from the hand-sewn zipper closure. This allows the stay to hook at a slightly tighter dimension, allowing the secured dress float freely over it. Worn by donor in the 1970s to the U.S. Open Ball, New York City. Gift of Ms. Lillian Tucker, 2004. Purchased from Mainbocher after his final collection in 1971; previously part of original house archives

REFERENCE
2004.37.1
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Ivory ottoman silk
Label: 104 (stamped); S 65 (inscribed; both on toile label)
Bust measurement: 33½”
Waist measurement: 24½”
Center back length: 51½
Spring 1966
Evening coat

Background Mainbocher added drama to his Spring 1966 collection, executing all his evening looks in black. Amongst them was this easy satin evening coat with its soft, expertly crafted lines. Description A-line; four-button, single-breasted; below-knee length; wide neck, rolled square collar, wide notched lapel; set-in three-quarter sleeves; body in three sections with chevron seaming above and below waist; tucks at back neck; jet-set black metal shank buttons, welt buttonholes; lined in black silk faille. Garment structure The coat has front and back chevron-shaped seams that converge toward one another above and below the otherwise undefined seamless waist. In lieu of darts, the front upper seams shape the coat. Tucks at the back neck create interest and a smooth fit. Welt buttonholes are contoured at the inner end, to hold the button securely. (Photographed over 86.60.5A.) Gift of Mr. Robert Winthrop, 1986.

REFERENCE
86.60.18
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Black slubbed-weft silk satin
Label: Mainbocher Inc. New York; Spring 66 (typed toile label)
Bust measurement: 40”
Center back length: 40½”
ADDITIONAL IMAGES
Spring 1966
Evening dress

Background This sophisticated design quotes two familiar, earlier looks. Mainbocher, creator of the strapless evening dress in 1934, here melds a strapless bodice to a flared tunic for his Spring 1966 collection. The combination yields a silhouette strong enough to command execution in unforgiving black. Description Sheath; strapless fitted bodice; slightly curved neckline; straight full-length skirt; full, circular-cut above-knee length overskirt, chiffon over organdy; center back hem vent; center back zipper closure; boned foundation bodice in black china silk with grosgrain waistband; lined in black china silk. Garment structure The boned bodice is cut straight across the bust, then dips in a gentle curve toward the back. The circular-cut, undulating chiffon overskirt is held out by a layer of organdy. An inner grosgrain stay made to hook at a smaller waist dimension reduces stress on the center back hand-sewn zipper. Worn by donor. Gift of Ms. Lillian Tucker, 2004. Purchased from Mainbocher after his final collection in 1971; previously a part of the house archives.

REFERENCE
2004.37.2
TECHNICAL DETAILS
Black peau du soie, black organdy, black chiffon
Label: “520” (stamped) and “S 66” (inscribed)
Bust measurement: 30”
Waist measurement: 23”
Center back length: 47”
ADDITIONAL IMAGES