Evening dress 'Les Muguets' (Lilies of the Valley)
Designed by Hubert de Givenchy (born 1927)
Silk organdie embroidered with white silk and sequins
Museum no. T.223-1974
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Given by the Viscountesss de Bonchamps
Formal evening gowns were an essential part of a society lady's wardrobe in the 1950s. Sumptuously embroidered and accessorised with jewels, these gowns provided a glittering show at receptions and balls, the opera or the theatre. Some were specially commissioned for a specific occasion and worn only once, whereas others bear evidence of alterations.
This dress is embroidered with silk thread and sequins from top to bottom, which would have been very expensive as it was done entirely by hand. It would have been sent out to one of the many specialist workshops in Paris, and each tiny sequin and stitch placed individually by a team of highly-skilled embroiderers.