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Vintage evening dresses Jean Dessés & Jacques Fath

June 29, 2015

If you’re looking for glamorous vintage evening dresses that embrace the 40s and 50s waspish figures and silhouette shapes, then the dresses of Jean Dessés should be worthy of further investigation.


Dessés dressed Royalty as well as the glitterati of Hollywood and as vintage started to gain popularity with the famous as well as the general public, many actresses were seen on the red carpet wearing his glamorous frocks including Naomi Campbell, Renee Zellweger and Jennifer Lopez in the early noughties.

Vintage evening dresses

Jean Dessés

Jean Dimitre Verginie was born in Alexandria, Egypt and although his intention was to study law he left to work at a Parisian couture house and in the latter half of the 30s would open his own.


He travelled and his travels influenced his designs, creating a kaleidoscope of colour, shape, frills, and drapery that created the most exquisite evening dresses imaginable.


Think vibrant pink with ruching, orange and lemon drapes, bright scarlet straps falling into a cape and those gorgeous cinched in waists.


Dessés would also go on to dress Royalty including the Queen of Greece and the Duchess of Windsor, and would go on to dress Princess Sophia of Greece for her marriage to the future King of Spain.


In the 1950s Dessés would work with Valentino where the young designer would learn much from Dessés’ dressmaking skills. Dessés would retire due to illness and spend the rest of his life in Greece, running a boutique he’d opened in the 50s.


He passed away in Athens in 1970.Today, everyone still loves Dessés dresses and well they should, his clothes have never stopped being popular due to their timeless designs and feminine cuts. They are as in tune with today’s gowns as they were when they were first worn.

Jacques Fath

A Frenchman, Fath was amongst one of the most famous designers of his generation, like Dessés, he opened his own salon in the late 30s before moving on to more worldwide success. He was self-taught and wasn’t afraid to use any materials that came to hand including hemp and sequins or almond and walnut shells.


His first collection saw him design skirts that were meant to resemble flowers and his vintage evening dresses were usually made from velvet as he was a great fan of the fabric.

Much like Dessés, he dressed the Hollywood elite including Ava Gardner, creating a wedding gown for Rita Hayworth for her wedding to Prince Aly Khan, Greta Garbo and finally, an evening gown for Eva Peron. This dress is now kept at the Museo Del Bicentenario in Argentina.


Fath’s vintage evening dresses are typical of the 40s and 50s, with a cinched in waist and bust, but came with full wide skirts, detailed prints and bodices, sometimes with ¾ length sleeved bell coats in satin. They made for a glamorous entrance with the full skirt and tiny waists, those with patterns were usually floral in nature and exquisitely detailed.


Whether you prefer Dessés or Fath, is a matter of personal taste, but they are reminiscent of a period where glamour and perfect tailoring were used to create beautiful vintage evening dresses that celebrated a woman’s curves.



Typical of the 50s – cinched in waistlines Jacques Fath

A gathering of Fath gowns


One of Jean Desses’ creations

Always elegant – Jean Desses

Elegant in scarlet – Jean Desses

That dress