Vintage mid- to late 1980s scarlet red wool crepe cocktail or dinner dress from Arnold Scaasi features satin cuffs and belt, and a flounced skirt that is a marvel of couture construction.
Fusing the ladylike and the sizzling, the demurely long-sleeved dress has a fitted, curve-conscious silhouette, while the faux-surplice bodice plunges to offer a glimpse of décolleté without any untidy gaping. The smooth, rounded line of the shoulders is created both through gentle padding and by the placement of seams only behind and underneath the sleeve.
Scaasi’s celebrity and high society clientele in the 1980s (Ivana Trump, Joan Rivers, Barbara Bush, Marisa Berenson, Princess Yasmin, etc) counted on his eveningwear, from extravagant gowns to chic dinner-length dresses like this one, which establishes its “evening” credentials through the subtle, lustrous note of its satin cuffs and matching leather-backed satin belt, and through the sensational tour de force of its skirt.
Less restrained than a peplum, more architecturally inclined than a cascade of ruffles, the 7-tiered skirt consists of 6 self-faced wool flounces with a stiffened organza underlaying the hem (or bottom tier) to structure it. Three pairs of hooks and eyes in the top flounce and two pairs in the one below it keep the dress’s back “seam” straight while the wearer moves or sits, as though it were an unbroken line.
Lined in matching red silk, the dress closes in back with a nylon zipper and has Scaasi’s couture label (NOT his “boutique”, ready-to-wear, label).
Measurements are as follows: Bust 36”, waist 26”, hips 34”, shoulders approx 15”, top of shoulder to waist 15 ½”, waist to hem 24”, and center back to hem 38 ½”.
Near-excellent condition, with creases in the tip of the belt (not visible while buckled) and a ½” opening to the lining at the left armhole; please see photos #6 and # 7.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild