1950s Mr John Couture Black Crepe Shift Dress and Jacket


This two-in-one little black dress and jacket is by Mr John, a celebrated American couturier and one of the foremost milliners of the 20th century; his most famous costume designs being those made for Vivien Leigh in "Gone with the Wind," Marlene Dietrich in "Shanghai Express," Greta Garbo in "The Painted Veil" and Marilyn Monroe in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." Among the fashionable women who wore his designs were the Duchess of Windsor, Gloria Swanson, Gloria Vanderbilt, Lauren Bacall and Joan Crawford. The New York Times review of his 1956 fall clothing and accessories collection was "a gifted designer and skilled workman who produces some of the most original, wearable, flattering fashions to be seen anywhere."

This evening ensemble was designed in 1956-1959 and tailored to an elegant silhouette with a nipped-in waist and mid-calf length skirt. Thick straps give way to a square neckline trimmed with layers of silk faille. A silver-tone zip and a hook-and-eye clasp secure the gown at the rear and a slit at the bottom hem of the skirt allows for easy movement. The bolero jacket is attached to the dress with large crystal-adorned buttons at the front. It is trimmed with silk faille at the collar and waist. Two pleated tails fall from the rear waist down the length of the skirt, adding a hint of theatre and taking cues from menswear traditions, in particular classic morning jacket styles. This piece is in fantastic vintage condition with no noticeable flaws and will best suit a UK size 8 or US 2-4. Our model is UK 6-8 and 5ft 4in (163cm) and this was roomy on her bust but otherwise fit her well.

Bust - 33 in. (83.82 cm)
Waist - 33 in. (83.82 cm)
Length - 46.5 in. (118.11 cm)

Bust - 33 in. (83.82 cm)
Waist - 25 in. (63.5 cm)
Hip - 36 in. (91.44 cm)
Length - 46.3 in. (117.60 cm)

Pickup available at CIRCA VINTAGE

Usually ready in 24 hours


Will you set anything aside for me before I come?

We are happy to find anything you may be interested in from our website - please let us know a week in advance. 

We also have an extensive offline collection. If you let us know your size, style, favourite colour to wear and perhaps your budget, we can browse through our archive in advance of your appointment. 

Do I need to bring anything with me?

Clients may wish to bring modern shapewear when trying on garments from certain eras, especially the 1950s. Vintage clothing was often worn with undergarments that shaped the waist and as such is tailored for them.

We have a huge variety of slip dresses and petticoats to complete your look; many of which are also for sale.

You may also wish to bring your favourite footwear. We often find a classic pair of nude shoes work well when trying on, or a pair in gold or silver.

Do you have a price range?

Many of our lower-priced pieces (under £150) are not available to buy online. Our prices range from £80 - £600 for separates. Dresses start at around £150 and go up to £2,500 for the very best antique pieces and designer vintage. Our bridalwear ranges from £300 - £3,000.

Can I bring anyone with me?

Yes but please do let us know the size of your party in advance.

Where can I get alterations?

We offer some alterations in house. Should you need alterations we cannot provide, we can refer you to one of our tried and trusted tailors.

Do you have an after-care service?

We will advise you on the best way to clean and preserve your vintage pieces and can also recommend trusted local dry cleaners.

Can I cancel my appointment?

You are free to cancel but please do give us as much notice as possible. If you cancel less than 24 hours before your appointment, you will be invoiced a late cancellation fee of £25.

Where's the showroom?

Our address is Circa Vintage, 87A Lansdowne Way London SW8 2PB

Upon arrival, buzz the 87A button on the gate or call us 020 7736 5038 to let you in.

Do you have parking?

We offer free, secure, off-street parking but it is a tight squeeze – so do let us know in advance if you will be needing this and we can make sure that there is space available.

How do I get there by public transport?


Stockwell (7 min walk) - Northern and Victoria Lines

Nine Elms (9 min walk) – Northern Line


Wandsworth Road (13 min walk) – Westbound to Clapham Junction / Eastbound to Dalston Junction

What payment methods do you accept?

Cash, credit/debit card, bank transfer, contactless, Paypal