Rudi Gernreich Silver + Gold Lurex Dress
Brand Rudi Gernreich
The iconic Rudi Gernreich dress as modeled by Peggy Moffit in the late 60s; I'm gobsmacked to have this in my collection.
The dress is long sleeved with a boat neck and shoulder cut-outs. What is actually a single layer has the appearance of two, through the use of alternating pattern and fabric, in silver and gold.
The majority of the dress is rendered in a silver knit stretch lurex with repeating geometric shapes (triangles, squares and triangles arranged into rectangles) woven into the knit. This silver fabric dominates the skirt, neckline and the sleeves from mid forearm to the wrist.
In a trompe l'oeil, a second fabric rendered in predominately gold with some silver thread woven throughout appears almost layered over, a style I often see in dancers from this period when layering stretch knit over stretch knit for rehearsal attire. Though the gold section is attached to the body of the dress, it imparts an illusion of layering a shorter sleeved blouse with a deep scoop neck over a tank maxi. Again, it's worth mentioning that this illusion is played up by the cut-out shoulders. And the silver fabric repeating on the cuffs ads a playful element.
The dress has a fitted, columnar skirt with a knee-high slit on the left side, that offers peeks of leg when in motion.
This dress is made of a lurex knit stretch fabric, and in keeping with Gernreich's vision it has been left unlined. It bears mentioning that lurex can be a texture that some find scratchy. If you have fabric sensitivity issues, I would encourage taking a pass on this lovely piece or reckoning with adding a lining.
Gernreich was a modern dancer and this is evident in his designs and the styling of his pieces. As a dancer, he brought an appreciation of adding stretch to fabrics, increasing both the versatility, movement and flexibility in his garments and how they interact with and accentuate the body.
I can't help but look at this dress and see a direct expression of not only his dance background, but for what was at the time, an unconventional approach to women's garments-- with an eye towards following the natural form of the female body. This is expressed so astutely in this dress, with its use of stretch lurex, hugging the natural female form that Gernreich sought to celebrate, rather than augment with corsetry, nipped waists or exaggerated shoulder pads.
To have this piece in my collection, it represents, for me, such a direct connection to a designer who was shown to be such a visionary and who I so deeply admire is both gratifying and humbling.
ERA / 1960s
LABEL / Rudi Gernreich
COLOR / Silver and Gold Lurex Galore!
MATERIAL / Lurex Knit that is left unlined. Lurex knits are not recommended for sensitive skin types.
CONDITION / Excellent
SIZE / Marked size 8, Approximate Modern size Medium
Please see measurements below for a better idea of fit.
FIT / Body-hugging fit, especially through the bust, waist and hips, with a columnar skirt in a maxi length.
MEASUREMENTS / Chest - 36" - 38" / Waist - up to 36" / Hips - 42" / Length - 56"