Balenciaga, Cristóbal; 1956, blue wool dress


Blue wool tweed dress with 3/4 length sleeves, v-neck, and self fabric bow at center front chest.
Dress has a deep front yoke gathered to lower section of dress at bust level. Collarless; V opening at center front bodice with left and right front overlapping 1". One double pointed dart on each side of front and back. Back neckine darts. All facing edges bound. Sheath/straight skirt; kick pleat at center back hem. Center front and center back seams. One piece from shoulder to hem at back. Center back hand picked zipper closure. Set-in 3/4 sleeves. Bodice underlined; skirt lined. Considerable bodice underconstruction:
There is a sleeveless shell unit inside bodice loose from outside garment bodice except for hand tacking to front darts. 3" unit at lower section of "shell" with additional support or lightweight stiffing with
horizontal stitching through shell section front and back. Separate center back zipper in shell section. 1/4" elastic strips on sides of shell unit; elastic slides around legs to hold garment in place during wear.






Additional fiber images and information available at the CAMEO Materials Database at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.


This dress belonged to Mrs. Harvey S. Firestone Jr. Born Elizabeth Parke in Decatur, Illinois in 1897 she was the daughter of Guy James Parke and Gertrude Chambers Parke. As a girl she attended Leed's School in England and Rosemary Hall in Greenwich, Connecticut, and graduated from Miss Wheeler's School in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1921, Elizabeth married Harvey S. Firestone Jr., the heir to the The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. They lived in Akron, Ohio and Newport, Rhode Island. Each year Mrs. Firestone traveled to Paris to purchase her clothes directly from designers and during the 1950s she was nominated for The Couture Group of the New York Dress Institute Inc.'s Best Dressed Women's list several times. Mrs. Firestone passed away in October, 1990 at the age of 93.


Balenciaga, Cristóbal

Design Elements

Fitted Sleeve, Sheath Dress, Tube Silhouette

Fiber/Fabric Information

fiber content=Wool






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1968.2.24 L.jpg
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1968.2.24 RB.jpg
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Balenciaga zipper detail.jpg
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Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber
Silk Fiber
Wool Fiber
Wool Fiber
Wool Fiber
Wool Fiber



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