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Ball Gown

This beautiful Givenchy gown is worn by Sabrina as she attends the Larrabee’s party.

The gown appears to be in two parts. A strapless sheath dress, with a long overskirt (almost like a peacock’s tail) that appears to fasten over it with a belt. Sabrina makes an entrance:

The back of the bodice is at its lowest at the centre back. The sheath dress appears to fasten up the centre back with a zip and hook and eye:

Masterful gathering into the belt!

The overskirt is longer at the back and shorter at the front sides so that it trails along behind Sabrina as she walks:

Either the lowest layer of the overskirt or its hem is a black ruffle (a bit like a dust ruffle). In this shot we can also see that the column dress has a layer or petticoat of what looks like a satin which is what gives it body:

Sabrina arranges her overskirt. Notice how the embroidery is even on the underside of the overskirt. The overskirt looks very thick- is this layers of tulle over a taffeta-like silk? There don’t appear to be any seams at the opening edges of the underskirt- perhaps the edges actually meet in one seam at the centre underneath the skirt?

Close up of the bodice embroidery. It’s interesting that bits of the embroidery are obviously lighter than the ground colour of the dress- what colour is the dress- a pale pink?

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3650/3653919698_3dce6b92dd_o.png

21 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2009 4:58 am

    Oh! I am so excited to have found your blog!
    And you comments on the Sabrina evening gown!
    My teenage daughters are incredible seamstresses and sew beautiful costumes and gowns each year for their 4-H projects. My daughter who is a high school senior this year has always wanted to sew this dress and I am hoping she and I can figure out how to do it this year.
    Patterns anymore are so plain, skimpy, and too simple to have style.
    Now this dress has style! We have studied the movie over and over, and it is great to have your ‘still’ photos to study some more to figure out the details. I sure wish Vogue would put all of these patterns into some great compendium for us vintage fashion lovers. If they would just make all the pattern pieces for us and give us some directions…! No, we’ll have to figure it out for ourselves and have a one-of-a-kind creation. If you know anyone else who has ever attempted to sew this dress, let me know – I would love to get their helpful hints before we start to cut into some expensive fabric!
    Blessings,
    Shari McMinn
    Fort Morgan, CO

    • glassoffashion permalink
      September 5, 2009 10:07 am

      Hi Shari- thanks for your kind words on the blog. I’m so glad my reference images have come in handy! I do remember coming across someone who had made a dress inspired by this ballgown on the internet. (googles frantically) Oh yes, here it is on A Dress a Day: http://dressaday.com/2008/04/faith-in-youth-of-today.html
      Good luck with your daughter’s dress- if she makes it, perhaps she’d like to send me a picture? I’d love to see what she cooks up…
      Best wishes,
      Fiona

  2. Rebecca permalink
    December 28, 2009 1:47 pm

    Audreys gown is so beautiful…, I watch the movie over and over again. This is my dream gown for my wedding. I am trying to find someone to make the gown as a exact replica, except the top part would be halter style. My wedding is next november (november 6, 2010) I am excited but also frustrated because have not been able to find any one so far, and im not able to travel far at all.

  3. Henry permalink
    January 13, 2010 7:21 pm

    i love this dress sooo much because it is so unusual!!

  4. Tatum permalink
    April 15, 2010 12:05 pm

    I’m having this dress duplicated in all white by a seamstress in my village (I’m a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer living overseas). This site has been invaluable. I’ll be sure to post photos of the final outcome.

    • glassoffashion permalink
      April 15, 2010 12:18 pm

      Oh, I’m so glad it’s been useful- as that was part of the very reason I started these pages…

      I would LOVE to see photos. All in white? Would that be your wedding dress, perchance? If so, congratulations :)

    • Rebecca permalink
      December 30, 2010 11:10 pm

      Congrads on having someone make the gown for you!! I am excited for you!! Do you have pictures yet???????? Would LOVE to see!! Is the dress done yet. I hope it is and I hope you absolutly love it. Please email me to let me know how its going and if at all possible could you send me some pictures in the email? What I am trying to do is, find someone to either make/ duplicate the gown or make a pattern for this gown…… Got any ideas?? Or does your dressmaker have any ideas for me?? I would appreciate any ideas.

    • Rebecca permalink
      September 23, 2013 4:45 pm

      Tatum, its 2013 and we haven’t seen any pictures of your dress.

    • jamielynn permalink
      November 12, 2013 6:10 am

      hello,i’m trying to find someone to make this dress as well, i would love to see the dress you got made. would it be possible for to email me your pictures.

      Thank you Jamielynn

  5. Rebecca permalink
    November 15, 2010 2:07 pm

    Well its me again..Rebecca. I still to this day can not find anyone to make this gown for me. I am ssssoooo FRUSTRATED!!!!!!!!!!!!! CAN ANYONE HELLLPPPPP ME???? Got any ideas out there? HELLLPPP!!!!!!??? PLEASE??? I have been looking for someone, anyone to help, and like I have said before I CAN NOT travel. I am On disability and ssi due to SAVERE lupas and savere fibromyalgia. I am DESPERATE to find someone to help. And someone who will work with me on payment plan as I only get paid once a month. I know this puts a damper on who ever wants to help, but I am a honest person and would never ever not pay as I have been taken before so would not want to wish that on anyone. Please if there is anyone out there willing to help please email me asap at : r4lildragonflies@yahoo.com
    thanks
    Rebecca

  6. Rebecca permalink
    March 23, 2013 6:55 pm

    this is Rebecca again. Its been a long time scence I have posted anything. I did get married in a short 50’s style dress, but it was not my dream dress. We are going to renue our vows in a year, so I am hoping and praying I find a pattern for the sabrina gown, or someone to make me a pattern. Any saggestions or advice please email me at: r4lildragonflies.com
    thanks so much.

    • August 24, 2013 6:46 pm

      The construction of this dress is very simple, it can not be more simple, one glance is all it takes to make a replica, , any Amateur can finish it within hours. The only diffiuclt part is the black emboridery, it will take many working days to finish if you need hand-embroidery. but with all the modern technologies available, you can have the pattern printed on the fabric, or use venice lace appliques –even Kate Middelton’s wedding dress has the hand-aplplied appliques, its not hand-embroideried flowers, so you know in these modern days, everything is simplified. good luck.

    • Henry permalink
      October 19, 2013 9:38 pm

      Hey! There is a great replica of this dress on Etsy. Yes, it is very, very pricy but I know how much you want it so I thought I should just tell you anyway.
      This is the link:
      https://www.etsy.com/listing/152377824/black-and-white-wedding-dress?ref=sr_gallery_35&ga_search_query=sabrina+dress&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=ZZ&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=sabrina+dress

    • Toni permalink
      January 6, 2014 1:50 am

      Hi,
      I saw that http://www.thecelebritydresses.com had a replica. I don’t know if it is the quality of a wedding dress or just a costume. It’s retailing for $220 was $500.

      Also, I went to LA for my sisters wedding dress. We walked in to this little dress shop in Korea town. It was not a bridal shop but it did have wedding dresses in the window. We walked in and there were no dresses. The shop said you pick out the parts of dresses from a stack of wedding dress catalogs and they will custom make it. She did, and they rushed it for her Tahoe wedding in two weeks. It was beautiful, ridiculously inexpensive and it had embroidery detail on it, but in lavender her favorite color. It was not a Sabrina dress but I have no doubt that place could make it for you. I don’t know the name of the shop, I’d have to go back to the street. But maybe there is a dress maker in your area.

      Good luck. You should have your dream dress! ;)
      Toni

  7. Rebecca permalink
    March 28, 2014 5:31 pm

    I appreciate the info Henry, but I am not willing to pay a thousand dollars for a dress. Yes it might be my dream dress , but that is too steep of a price for me.

  8. Rebecca permalink
    March 28, 2014 8:33 pm

    Oh I forgot if anyone else has ideas for me and my gown my email is now reba1017@gmail.com I would appreciate anymore help, and ideas.

  9. Rebecca permalink
    April 7, 2014 4:42 pm

    I found a old post of a bride who made a gown similar to this ball gown. She did not use ant embroidery at all and made sleeves for dress. here is the link.http://thebridescafe.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/09/megan-randys–1.html

    • DannyJane permalink
      April 24, 2015 5:19 pm

      Actually, I see more Jackie Kennedy than Audrey Hepburn in this elegant dress.

  10. DannyJane permalink
    April 24, 2015 5:17 pm

    Not knocking the glamour of Givenchy’s style, and at the risk of being branded a heretic, I have serious issues with this dress. I realize Hepburn loved Givenchy and wore his designs much of her life, but this particular dress bothers me. The flaw is that Givenchy is a couturier where designers like Edith Head dressed movie actresses–and nowhere else does his lack of understanding of the difference show as painfully as here. Later in his career he came to understand how to design for film, but it’s all new to him here, immortalized on film.

    Audrey Hepburn at 5’7″, was medium tall and unfashionably thin for her day (she’d probably be fine now). She was long-waisted and virtually flat-chested. She had lovely skin, luminous features, fairly generous hips and longish legs. As unusual and well-made as it is, this dress sets off all her wrong points and actually hides many of her good ones. Her legs look stumpy because the pencil skirt hem is cut to the least flatterng length possible. Her shoes, fashionable for the day, don’t help a bit and in fact, make the problem worse. Pale shoes would have worked better but the dark, closed pumps only emphasize the awkward length of the pencil skirt. Had the dress been floor-length she would have looked willowy instead of sawed-off.

    The bodice elongates her already long torso, and is designed for a much fuller bust. Hepburn’s A cup size makes the whole look deflated in the front, while the sleeveless, strapless neckline highlights her prominent bird-like collarbones and reduces her already too-thin arms to toothpicks. To make matters worse, the cut of front of the skirt from waist to hip is not tailored properly and pooches outward giving the slender wearer the appearance of a pot belly

    Of course there are saving graces which is why we still adore the dress. The magnificent appliques, peacock train and the exquisite, if flawed workmanship are incredible but the real selling point is Hepburn’s own confidence together with her natural dancer’s grace that bring it to life when she moves in it.

  11. Rebecca permalink
    May 9, 2015 9:49 pm

    Its been four years scence I got married. Renuing vows next year in august. I am still trying to find a pattern that resembles this dress in my size. I am a size 16. I am having alote of problems. Anyone have any saggestions it would be appreciated.

  12. Kerry permalink
    August 6, 2015 9:55 am

    I love this! I want to use this ballgown as inspiration for my wedding dress and thank you so much because this will be so useful in trying to explain the details of this beautiful piece that I love so much!

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