Ann Lawrence Nahigian was a fashion designer for the 7th Ave. elite for over a decade and the go-to designer for Hollywood starlets and socialites throughout the 1980s. Her dresses were often custom made, and would often fetch $10,000+ back in the day. 16 of her gowns graced the inaugural ball for Bill Clinton's 1992 election win. The January 30, 1989 issue of New York magazine referred to her as "a successful designer of gala cocktail dresses and evening gowns", many of which were couture. In December of 1988, nine floors below her atelier, she opened "Ann Lawrence Antiques" where she shared her vast collection of antique laces and other heirloom beauties; a quasi emporium / museum / shop that she opened by appointment only. She eventually "retired" to Santa Fe to "slow down", but those who knew her say she was as busy as ever. She established The Ann Lawrence Collection of antiques and began designing and creating Ralph Lauren's vintage antique lace clothing line. She also designed and created an original Ann Lawrence clothing line for Santa Feans, and dressed many brides and bridal parties over the next 20 years. She passed in 2018.
Her designs from the 80's were over-the-top, Dynasty style glam, and this cape does not disappoint. It's a vibrant tomato red silk taffeta; the color was difficult to truly capture in the photos. It has a 4" high collar that turns into flaps that become an oversized bow when tied at the neck. The collar is reinforced and stands up on it's own along the sides and back. The cape is super gathered all the way around the neckline, which creates amazing fullness and poof; almost a cocoon coat effect. As I was photographing it, I discovered it has shoulder pockets sewn into the side seams! I've never seen such a design, but think it might be a way to style the flaps so that the contrasting emerald green silk lining is more visible. That said, the pockets are large enough to hold a phone, lipstick and compact, so there's that hands-free option; just don't check it at the opera or you might lose your phone.
It's fully lined (including the flaps) with a gorgeous emerald green silk, and if you removed the label, could actually be reversible (sans the pockets). It's very lightweight but makes that delicious swishing sound when it moves. It's just spectacular and in overall excellent-mint condition. There is a very faint water mark on the red side of one of the flaps, and the tiniest bit of wear to the silk where the bow is tied, but hardly visible. It presents beautifully.
Label: Ann Lawrence
Back (Shoulder to Shoulder) 18"
Length: Base of collar to hem: 43"
Please let me know if you need any other measurements; it's pretty much a OSFA piece.
(Photo references: Ann Lawrence ad September, 1988 Vogue, Valentino Fall 2019 runway shot for style inspo)