James Galanos, Silk Chiffon Afternoon Dress c. Fall 1976


Afternoon dress. Silk chiffon. Fall 1976.
Image Collection: Drexel Digital Museum. DDM_Galanos_James_05.
Object Collection: The James G. Galanos Archive at Drexel University.

The fabric of this afternoon dress, silk chiffon, was used by Galanos throughout his design career. He was called the “master of chiffon” by the New York Times (1). It is a soft, flowing, ethereal fabric, one over which, in the words of close friend and designer Ralph Rucci, Galanos had “poetic command” (2). The level of quality of the workmanship of a Galanos creation can be seen in the delicate hand stitching used on the hems and edges of this dress, giving the garment a weightlessness, which allows the textile to move fluidly with the body of the wearer. He was also a master at using less supple fabrics to sculpt volume around the body as in this image.

James Galanos. Evening gown and wrap. Silk satin and tulle. 1987. Publicity photograph. Victor Skrebneski. Model, Tatiana. Drexel University Archives

James Galanos. Evening gown and wrap. Silk satin and tulle. 1987. Publicity photograph. Victor Skrebneski. Model, Tatiana. Drexel University Archives.

The chiffon afternoon dress was chosen for display in the exhibition James Galanos Design Integrity in the Pearlstein Gallery of the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, October 23, 2018 December 8, 2018,  January 8-27, 2019 (3). 

Upon closer examination it was deemed too fragile to exhibit. By imaging it using high resolution GigaPan technology we are able to create an archival quality digital record of the dress, exhibit it virtually at life size in 3D panorama, through which the viewer can rotate the garment and zoom in on details of interest to them, and ship the file around the world on a hard drive to share with other collections and become part of other exhibitions. You are viewing the dress as an HTML5 file, re-purposed from the high resolution digital image for the internet, the most democratic of all means of dissemination of Galanos’ exquisite contribution to our cultural heritage.

1 – Sauro, C., Fry, C. and Stevens Smith, M. (2018) James Galanos Design Integrity, Philadelphia: Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. p.37.

2 – Rucci, Ralph (2018) Forward in James Galanos Design Integrity, Clare Sauro, Cara Fry and Monica Stevens Smith, Philadelphia: Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. p.8.

3 – https://www.wsj.com/articles/james-galanos-design-integrity-review-the-west-coast-king-of-fashion-1541851201