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Vintage Evening Dresses & Ball Gowns

Equivalent to men’s semi-formal and formal wear for black tie and white tie events, vintage evening dresses is perhaps the category our OfV editors get the most excited about. From the narrow-waisted dresses of the beginning of the 19th century, evening gowns have evolved with the exciting history of women and fashion throughout the century. With simple boyish silhouettes mirroring the daring Flapper sentiments in the 1920s, to the introduction of the sheath dress, mermaid dress, A-line dress, trumpet dress and princess dress. Though fashion overall is less and less of a formal affair, the silk, chiffon, velvet, satin or organza ball gown still prevails women’s formal dress. With the wide array of silhouettes on offer today, formal or informal, below we have untangled the most significant styles.

Sheath

A sheath dress fits the body tightly and generally has a straight drape. Its simple design invites for it to be dressed up or down with ease.

Mermaid

More on the formal side, the Mermaid dress is tight-fitting on the upper body and wider by the lower leg, resembling the shape of a mermaid.

A-line

Hailing from the 1950s and 1960s, the A-line dress is a shorter number with a tight fitting upper and an A-shape skirt.

Trumpet

Not dissimilar to a mermaid dress, the trumpet also flares by the knees, but often more subtly than the dramatic mermaid shape.

Empire

Popularised by Napoleon’s Josephine, the empire dress has a high waistline starting just below the bust, with a simple, straight-hanging, floor-long skirt.

Dropped waist

Often on the bohemian or flapper-style side, the dropped waist dress has a waist dropped down to the hips and a mini or midi length skirt.

Princess

The ball gown of choice for just about every Disney princess, the princess silhouette needs little further explanation.

OfV says: A unique and oftentimes much more affordable option, vintage evening dresses are the unrivalled choice for history honouring formalwear dazzling with charm. Browse our delightful edit of vintage evening gowns and discover imaginative vintage evening dresses beyond the ball gown. A Space Age sequin-covered dress from the 1960s; a 1920s Art Deco gown in velvet and sterling silver; a velvet cocktail dress with a dramatic ruffle skirt from the 1980s; or a subtle 1990s-style slinky slip dress in luxurious silk – whether you opt for the opulent or understated, perfect your after-hours style with a unique vintage evening gown from our edit below.

 

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Renato Balestra 1997 Red Beaded Haute Couture Dress

Renato Balestra Italian Haute Couture Beaded Red Silk Flamenco Gown, A/W 1997
£400.00

YSL Yves Saint Laurent 1978 silk taffeta olive green vintage two-piece dress

A 1978 vintage Yves Saint Laurent olive green silk taffeta blouse and skirt evening ensemble with flounces
£2,140.00

CHRISTIAN DIOR by John Galliano c. 1999 Evening Dress Size L-XL

A rare and fabulous bias cut evening dress with a spectacular collar by John Galliano for Christian Dior.
£1,345.00

PIERRE BALMAIN 1960s Vintage Maxi Evening Dress Size S

A fabulous Pierre Balmain evening dress from the late 1960s, entirely made of a sparkling red and gold lurex knit jersey featuring a bold graphic pattern.
£675.00

Gianfranco Ferre Satin Velvet Detail Black Vintage Evening Dress Gown

Vintage Gianfranco Ferre satin gown style dress in black with a velvet detail at the top.
£165.60

Catherine Walker 1980s Navy Blue Ribbonwork Evening Dress

Catherine Walker Navy Blue Silk Ribbonwork & Crepe Couture Evening Dress, 1980s
£280.00

Gianni Versace 1990s Asymmetrical Evening Gown

A 1990s Gianni Versace Black Double Layered Rayon Jersey Knit Dress
£600.00

Victor Costa 1970s Red Brocade Evening Dress

Victor Costa Romantica Red, Purple & Green Metallic Brocade Evening Dress, 1970s
£180.00

Gianfranco Ferre 1990s Blue Shoulder Train Dress

Gianfranco Ferre Vintage Navy Blue Crepe & Satin Shoulder Train Dress, 1990s
£300.00

Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garcons 2014 Deconstructed Dress

This incredible example of Watanabe's work was featured as the penultimate piece in the 2014 runway show.
£480.00

Bruce Oldfield Couture 1990s Silk & Organza Black Gown

Bruce Oldfield Couture trompe l'oeil embroidered silk & organza strapless gown
£320.00

Curiel Couture 1970s Black & Grey Printed Velvet Evening Gown

A Curiel Couture vintage black & grey printed velvet & chiffon evening gown, 1970s
£400.00

Yves Saint Laurent 1970s Green Velvet Evening 3 Piece Set

An incredible and very rare Yves Saint Laurent evening set from the late 1970s, c. Russian Collection era.
£2,645.00

Balenciaga 1980s Black Silk Gazar Buble Cocktail Dress

Important vintage Balenciaga black gazar cocktail dress
£850.00

Chanel Midnight Blue Silk Chiffon Draped and Pleated Dress - Circa 2000

Style Keyword : Dresses ,Colour : Blue ,Gender : Female ,specification : Blue, Silk Chiffon; Resin (buttons), ,Size : 38 (Fr) - 10 (UK) / 6 (US) ,
£1,000.00

Emilio Pucci circa 1980 Swarovski Crystals Embellished Evening Dress

A spectacular Emilio Pucci couture evening dress, made from a printed silk organza and most opulently embroidered with sparkling Swarovski crystals and sequins.
£4,435.00

Yves Saint Laurent 1960s to 1970s Floral Silk Black Evening Coat or Dress

An outstanding, rare and very, very special Yves Saint Laurent evening coat.
£2,150.00

Vintage 1960s Black Lace Cocktail Dress

1960's cocktail dress with long sleeves with flared cuffs
£190.62

Vivienne Westwood Gold Label Black Satin Black Corset Evening Dress

NEW VINTAGE VIVIENNE WESTWOOD GOLD LABEL BLACK SATIN LONG RUFFLE CORSET EVENING DRESS SIZE 8
£495.00

Yves Saint Laurent 1970s Silk Metallic Lame Evening Ensemble

A spectacular Yves Saint Laurent metallic silk lamé evening set consisting of a blouse and its matching pleated maxi skirt.
£1,075.00

Vivienne Westwood Gold Label Abstract Knit Dress Unworn

NEW VINTAGE VIVIENNE WESTWOOD GOLD LABEL VINTAGE ABSTRACT KNIT DRESS SIZE S
£550.00

Vivienne Westwood Red Label Sequin Flower Print Corset Dress

NEW VINTAGE VIVIENNE WESTWOOD RED LABEL SEQUIN FLOWER PRINT CORSET SIZE 42
£1,350.00

Vivienne Westwood Gold Label Swarovski Crystal Knit Dress Unworn

NEW VINTAGE VIVIENNE WESTWOOD GOLD LABEL SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL KNIT DRESS SIZE S
£3,300.00

Vivienne Westwood Gold Label Blue & White Sequin Corset Dress

NEW VINTAGE VIVIENNE WESTWOOD GOLD LABEL BLUE & WHITE SEQUIN CORSET S.O.L. DELICATE DRAPE DRESS SIZE 12
£2,200.00

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