1983 Runway Chloe Novelty Musical Instrument Dress

This is a fine and rare runway documented Chloe musical instrument dress. A showstopping piece designed by Karl Lagerfeld from the spring / summer 1983 collection. Ornately beaded dresses with novelty and surrealist themes were present throughout the catwalk collections of 1973 through to 1984. They are prized as some of the finest designs Lagerfeld produced for this revered French ready-to-wear House and included the magnificent 'shower dresses' and one very documented 'violin' dress from the same collection. We have shown this dress which was featured in the runway presentation finale when in typical Karl style, he would take a turn on the runway The dress was worn by “Mounia” Orosemane, one of the most famous runway models and a muse of Yves Saint Laurent. Despite extensive coverage of this collection, it is a travesty this this dress is not better preserved in photographs.

The dress is made from a black silk feel organza that has a wide waistband that is interspersed horizontally with gold bugle beads and a single row of gold seed beads. It has little caplet sleeves and a round neck but by far, the stand out design is the embellished and appliqued musical instruments on the skirt. There is a singular French horn on the bodice and several more on the skirt together with violins, trumpets and tuba designs. These are exceptionally well made from gold and silver lame, tulle and an assortment of beads and prong set crystals.

The dress fastens to the rear with the original zip that is carefully concealed in between the rows of horizontal beadwork. The dress also featured a key hole opening which fastens with a single button around the beaded neckline.

Condition wise, this is in superb vintage condition and I find no faults of any note. There is no bead loss to speak of, no fading to the organza and all the appliqués are very fresh looking and intact. This is worthy of museum acquisition or one for the collector of fine vintage - its also very wearable. No sizing label remains but the measurements suggest a size fit for up to a UK 10 or US 6. Its possible that this dress may have come with a slip as it is quite sheer but the two have separated. It would look superb with modern body shaping undergarments or a replacement slip.

Bust - 33 in. (83.8 cm)
Waist - 31 in. (78.7 cm)
Hip - 36 in. (91.4 cm)
Length - 44 in. (111.8 cm)
Shoulders - 17 in. (43.2 cm)

Pickup available at CIRCA VINTAGE

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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