This vibrant ruby-red Adolfo Couture set comes from his FW 1969-1970 Collection. I love this outfit because it’s aesthetic truly teeters on the edge of a decade, containing elements of both 60’s and 70’s style. The lush velvet top features an elegant boat neck giving way to dramatic belle sleeves.
These are trimmed in three rows of thick vertical ribbon, which is tied into a bow at the top tier. Each loose end is cut into a v-notch. The belle sleeves are embroidered to create a quilted texture, which continues in the matching A-line skirt. This piece has a thick waistband and a flat front. Three tiers of ribbon accent the bottom half of the skirt continuing the theme from the sleeves and giving this outfit a tribal feel.
Fixed box pleating begins along the sides of the skirt and becomes more dense as they circle around around the back, giving it a structured voluminous look. Both the blouse and skirt have an invisible zipper closure.
Adolfo Sardiña was born in Cuba in 1933 and came to NY at age 15. He worked as an apprentice milliner for Balenciaga from 1950-52, & eventually became chief hat designer for Emme. To further his skills, he apprenticed (unpaid) at Chanel’s NY hat salon. Though he admitted he never enjoyed making hats, he won the Coty award for millinery in 1955.
With the help of Bill Blass, Adolfo opened his first salon in NYC in 1963, where his customer base, including the Duchess Of York, encouraged him to make clothes to match his amazing hats. His “fun and fantasy” looks included stunning bolero jackets and eveningwear made from antique patchwork quilts. Eventually his designs morphed into quietly understated clothing such as fur-trimmed knitwear. Adolfo’s knit dresses were mass-produced for Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. Even after his success he returned to Chanel for another unpaid apprenticeship & openly acknowledged her influence in his work. Adolfo’s Chanel inspired jackets became his design signature. His knit daywear became best selling in the 70’s & is still in demand today. His company currently sells ready-to-wear for men, women & children.