Oct 19, 2008

Designer du Jour: Helena Barbieri

Now Helena Barbieri is not a one of the big name designers. You won’t find much on her online or even in design texts. She didn’t pioneer a new silhouette or change the direction of fashion. Like many talented designers, she seems to have been successful in a lower key way, but not ever really celebrated by the media. Indeed, all that is readily available out there online is her obit in the NY Times and the bio on the Vintage Fashion Guild Label Resource.

Yet there are these evening gowns running around that are outstanding . They are well made. They are colorful They are detailed. They were not cheap, at least not at Bergdorf Goodman! And they certainly spoke to a specific customer and showed a specific vision.

Sometimes the only difference between a famous designer and one known only to the cognoscenti is the quality of their PR firm and Ad agency. Remember, Ceil Chapman was just a designer of nice ladies 1950s cocktail dresses until a few years ago. Van Gogh died penniless.
Let that be a lesson to us all.

A small retrospective.

1950s Helena Barbieri chiffon & satin gown with Satin Stole

1960s Helena Barbieri strapless green crepe evening dress with chiffon wrap from the www.pastperfectvintage.com archives

c. 1950's Helena Barbieri ice blue satin beaded dinner dress from www.antiquedress.com

1950's Helena Barbieri celery & black taffeta asymmetrical gown from http://www.vintageous.com/

c.1960-70 Helena Barbieri embroidered silk gown from www.vintagetextile.com

1950s Helena Barbieri lily of the valley evening dress from http://www.divinefinds.com/


Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

These are all beautiful, but that striped number is out of this world!

Malphi said...

What a lovely collection, love the yellow one best,

jparkerpictures said...

Today was my lucky day! I was shopping in a costume shop for props this afternoon and decided to browse the sale rack. A beautiful evening gown caught my attention and with a $10 dollar price tag it was boasting, there was no way I could walk out without it. Little did I know...it was a Helena Barbieri Original. Now I just wish I knew more about this incredibly talented woman...

Frank Stynes said...


Helena Barbieri was my aunt. Lived to almost 90 and always resided in NYC. My understanding is that she designed several gowns for Jackie Bouvier/Kennedy too. She and her husband started Modern Couture.