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Vintage 1950s Canadian Couture Velvet Ball Gown Richard Lorain Couturier Montreal


Brand Poppy's Vintage Clothing

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This is an exceptional 1950s era ball gown made by Montreal couturier Richard Lorain.  Lorain studied couture with Pierre Balmain in Paris, and then opened his atelier in Montreal, probably during the early 50s.  Around 1954, he began making costumes for French language CBC (Radio Canada) production and subsequently for theatrical productions into the 1980s.  Examples of Lorain’s work for the 1981 production of Idomeneo are part of the fashion collection of Canada’s National Arts Centre.

This dress is beautifully hand sewn using high quality green velvet fabric.  It is sleeveless with taffeta shoulder straps and long taffeta panels that can be left hanging at the back or perhaps arranged as a shoulder wrap - please view the photos as I’ve posed them both ways.  The upper back is exposed in a wide U half way to the waist.  The front sides of the skirt are embroidered in a motif that looks somewhat Celtic to my eye.  The dress does up the back with a metal zipper.  The skirt is fully lined in muslin, which gives the fullness of the skirt some support.  The dress was posed with a long crinoline in order to support the fullness of the skirt, but no crinoline is supplied.

Age: 190s

Label: Richard Lorain Original 

Color: Deep green, very rich looking, with pale yellow embroidery and beige taffeta trim

Sizing: No size is indicated as this was custom made, but this should fit a medium size - please note the following measurements for fit:

Bust: 34”-35” around, taken under the arm openings 

Waist: 28”  around

Hips:  Full

Overall length: 56”, measured flat

Condition:  It is in very good condition with no pronounced wear or tear - there are a couple of small scuffs to the velvet in a few places, very minor.  Otherwise, this dress is very clean and well preserved. 

This is an excellent quality ball gown, very striking in green velvet, probably created for one of Montreal’s social elite, perhaps for the Irish St. Patrick’s ball, who knows - wonderful addition to a collection of Canadian fashion!