ARCHIVE - 1960s Balmain Demi-Couture Black Jersey and Velvet Cocktail Dress

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This elegant late 1950s or early 1960s black wool-silk blend jersey and velvet dress is by celebrated French designer Pierre Balmain and is impeccable vintage condition with a chic, contemporary aesthetic. Extolled for the sculptural quality that characterises his work, Balmain lovingly described dressmaking as "the architecture of movement", and was favoured by iconic figures Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn as well as famously Queen Sirikit of Thailand during her 1960 tour of the United States. The fabric is skillfully fashioned to present as if separates whereby the dress is in fact a simple slip design with a layer of fabric incorporated over the bodice to create a cowl neckline and a button stand fastened at the reverse to conceal the upper back. The over layer features diagonal bands of black velvet either side of the bust to consolidate with a matching velvet waistband. The calf length skirt wiggle skirt falls easily over the hip with a pleasing give in the fabric. There is an off-centre zip fastening to the left of the slip style underlay. This is a wonderfully adaptable piece that communicates brilliantly as either formal wear or a stylish cocktail dress. Would fit up to a US size 4-6, UK size 8-10.

BUST - 36 in. (91.44 cm)
WAIST - 28 in. (71.12 cm)
HIP - 36 in. (91.44 cm)
LENGTH - 42.5 in. (107.95 cm)


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