Wednesday, September 2, 2009
An Egyptian Greek in Paris - Jean Desses
Yesterday's post showed a gorgeous couture gown by Jean Desses. Jean (as in Jon, the French version of John) Desses was not, as I had thought for a long time, French. He was, in fact, a man of Greek ancestry who just happened to be born in Egypt. His Greek ancestry is evident in his designs, however, with the goddess like draping and pleating that are his hallmark.
This dress originally had an overjacket, which is not shown. The overjacket is chiffon, with white cotton pique collar and cuffs. I wish I could see a photo of the two together, because I can only imagine how lovely they are together. I mean really -- look at the amazing pleating on the bodice. It's nothing short of amazing and was worn by whom? None other than Princess Margaret.
Desses opened his salon in 1937, and retired to Greece in 1963, where he continued to run a small boutique until his death in 1970. This dress is noted as a later work, in large part because of the color. His early works were earthtones: creams, beiges and pale pinks. It wasn't until later years that he found the brilliant reds that he became known for --- it's no wonder that Valentino was counted among his assistants, as Valentino later had a trademark shade of Valentino red.