The transportive nature of film and cinema has always played a marked role in fashion and style trends. A perfect example is the iconic backless dress Guy Laroche designed for french actress Mireille Darc for the 1972 cult film "Le Grand Blond Avec Une Chaussure Noire". That racy dress set both the cinema and fashion world on fire and it wasn't long before the design was picked up & copied all over the world; it was so popular she wore a similar white dress in the 1974 sequel "Le Retour du Grand Blond".
After Ms. Darc passed away in August, 2017, Richard René, newly appointed Creative Director at Maison Laroche, paid homage to the dress & actress that "launched a thousand ships - or in this case, knock-offs" in his SS 2018 Collection and he revisited it again in his SS 2020 RTW in Look 34.
This dress is a ready-to-wear take on that iconic dress. The label is "Mr. Boots Limited Edition"; a small subsidiary owned by conglomerate Drew Industries in the 1970's (now Lippert Components). I don't think the label was in production for very long; but I do think they captured the sultry essence of the Laroche dress while, thankfully, not pirating an exact copy of it.
The bodice of this dress is three panel construction. The plunging sweetheart neckline with a gathered keyhole center is one piece. The darted shoulders, which fall into dolman style long sleeves, turn into a sort of mini capelet in the back, leaving most of the back exposed. The two shoulder sections join by four covered buttons at the nape of the neck. The skirt of the dress is four panel construction, fitted through the waist and buttocks with a slow flare out to the hemline. The back of the waistline dips seductively low, the skirt closes with a nylon zipper & hook at center of the back. There are two 18" slits on either side of the skirt.
There's no fabric tag but it feels like a nylon jersey that has a slight bit of give to it. It's a deep, rich black (I did lighten a few of the photos to highlight the cut & lines of the dress.) The care label fell off but indicates it's machine washable on gentle, line or tumble dry - low. (What's better than that?!) The dress is in excellent condition: there was a side seam repair on the right side of the skirt where it meets the bodice but due to the dark color and that the area is mostly covered by the elbow and upper arm, , it's not really an issue. If it weren't for that I would list it as mint condition. Dress has been laundered & steamed and is ready to wear.
Bust: @ 36" (open back makes it variable)
Waist: 26-28" (open back makes it variable)
Hips: @ 36" A-line
Sleeve length from top of shoulder: 28"
Length: 56" (1.5" hem)
(Reference Photos: Still of Mireille Darc in black dress by Guy Laroche in 1972 film "Le Grand Blond Avec Une Chaussure Noire" / Still of Mireille Darc in white dress (provenance unknown) in 1974 film "Le Retour du Grand Blond" / SS 2018 Collection Richard René for Guy Laroche )