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.
Beige twill; full-length, lightly flared, lightly gathered into waistband; center back zipper closure; lined in camel china silk.
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.
Cream lace over crepe; fitted shell; sleeveless; high round neck; godets at hem; center back zipper closure.
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.