1960s John Cavanagh Black Lace and Velvet Couture Cocktail Dress


This incredible 1960s black lace and velvet cocktail dress is couture from British designer John Cavanagh, who was renowned for his understated, elegant designs and often created pieces for the Royals during this period. The dress is comprised of back lace netting underlain with soft ivory toned net to enhance the baroque style design. The fabric of the dress attaches briefly to the velvet straps, gathering them into a scoop neckline with velvet echoed on the side-set ruched waistband. The construction of this piece is exceptional and features detailed corseting through the silk lined bodice and structured cups to support the bust. The mid calf length skirt is straight at the front, then skillfully gathered at the reverse below the waistband into soft pleats with additional bustle style netting positioned beneath. There is a black silk petticoat slip reinforced at the hem with lace and a central zip fastening at the reverse consolidated at the base of the spine in a velvet bow. This rare and incredible piece is sexy, sophisticated and in excellent vintage condition. Would best suit a petite US size 0-2, UK size 6. Our model is a UK 6-8 and 5ft 4in (163cm) and this dress fit her well. 

BUST - 31.5 in. (80.01 cm)
WAIST - 24 in. (60.96 cm)
HIP - 32 in. (81.28 cm)
LENGTH - 48 in. (121.92 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