This dress has real wow factor in deep black silk velvet with a cross split that reveals the leg in a walk or when the wind blows it billows back the lush fabric. The hip area has a circum band of thick glossy soft fox fur, and it's very figure flattering; sadly it's a bit big for me I had to wear a huge padded bra and even then couldn't fill it; or I would definitely keep it. But if you are a size UK 8 or 10 with a decent bust you will rock this gown.
Much of the elite fashion world doesn't like Victor Costa, branding him the 'copycat king' , a name he earned during his 1965-73 stint at Suzy Perette when he was 'knocking off' Paris designs. After 73 he moved back from NY to Texas where he started his own label and by the late 70s early 80s it has become firmly established as the choice for those who wanted (relatively) affordable glamour. With a dress costing between $200-$800, for a look that looked as if it had just come from a Couture catwalk show, where such costs $thousands or even $tens of thousands, it was bound to upset.
Thus I think he has never really got the credit he deserves. After all, all Couture influences each other why was Costa singled out? The 80s in particular it is relatively easy to spot a Victor Costa dress they have specific signatures: yes it's Lacroix meets Mugler meets Valentino & Oscar de la Renta but if that mix then has its own character what the hell? I think the snide handle was more to do with the fact that suddenly such glamour was in the reach of ordinary women 18-80.
So I LOVE Victor Costa and so do a generation of women that grew up in the 1980s; especially those from Texas. Costa & his 150 highly skilled Texas garment workers put the state firmly on the global fashion map. His designs featured in 80s classics like Dynasty, Moonlighting, Falcon Crest and movies like Down & Out in Beverley Hills.
[Along with Lacroix (his favourite designer), Costa was a] :
"significant contributor to the current vogue for flamboyant, super-feminine dresses that bare the shoulders, hug the waistline and billow and swirl over the hips" (New York Times 1987)
The 1980s was a time where people dressed UP, not down. Yes, gowns like this were for charity balls, New Year's Eve, terraces of exclusive holiday resorts, cruises and smart wedding receptions; but you were just as likely to spot one in your local wine bar, smart restaurant, nightclub or casino on a weekend.
Sadly, we are now in an age where the wealthy have rejected glamour and purple v necks t shirts and jeans are the billionaire lifestyle it's almost as if they dress down we think they are like us. Errr ....no. And millions of ordinary women yearn for the glamour we once had even if it was just the one dress we had for special occasions we got to wear. If you are anything like me, I resent spending my low income hard earned money in a spartan restaurant with wood benches eating bog standard food off a tin tray drinking cocktails from a jam jar, or dance with people tipping beer over me, looking shabby. I want on the few times a year I can afford, to go somewhere lovely have a little luxury and see beautiful dresses again & glam up myself. To me quality Fashion is Art; and sneering at it you sneer at the makers of it: highly skilled working class people & their livelihoods. I worked 25 yrs in fashion retail myself in a dept. store yes I'm a working class girl and proud of it....and saw the declining quality the corporate buyers pushed, each year worse quality: I know a con when I see one. They can manage our expectations some other way: we are done with mass produced polyester fast casual fashion. Or, at least if you are looking here, you are, as I am.
Costa himself in fact was from a working class family growing up in post depression era America. His mother though would take him to smart dept stores and while she couldn't afford, they would appreciate the beautiful gowns they saw. By his teens, also inspired by Hollywood glamour, (especially Joan Crawford who later would become a customer), he was making prom dresses for his classmates. Soon he would be the classmate of Yves St Laurent studying in Paris, and eventually be the chief designer at that wonderful vintage New York label Suzy Perette.
Glamour & beauty lifts the human spirit. Off with your puritanism it ends with women in red dresses being burned at the stake!
So ready for a glamour rebellion? Then this is the dress for you!
It is as new...immaculate... apart from one side of the split there are a couple of marks on the velvet nap the light catches (which you get with silk velvet it's part of the character of it) but as there is ample fabric and it billows back when you move, it doesn't notice anyway.
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