This dress was personally designed and made by Geoffrey Beene for one of his house models, Catharina Oeschger. When Beene learned that she was getting married, he immediately offered to make her wedding dress, and she requested a gown that was “not a fluffy meringue”. Catharina married Peter Tinniswood on 9th August 1975 at St Nicholas’ Church in Thames Ditton, having flown out from New York via Iceland (where her intended bridesmaid (who unfortunately couldn’t make it) and former house-mate lived). As it was a very hot day, she dressed behind the church organ so that the linen dress would not be wrinkled for the ceremony.
Although American fashion designer Geoffrey Beene passed away ten years ago, he is still highly regarded for his superbly crafted and meticulously detailed women’s wear. Over his lifetime, Beene donated many of his creations to the Museum, including this printed silk satin ensemble. Accented with touches of silk cording, ribbon, and lace, its loose-fitting jacket, blouse, and pleated skirt are typical of the designer’s simple, relaxed style. Explore more of our Beene holdings here.
Woman’s Ensemble: Jacket, Shirt, Skirt, and Belt; 1983; designed by Geoffrey Beene
Looking to sparkle this New Years Eve? Visit “Silver and Gold Fashions Since 1960” for inspiration. According to H. Kristina Haugland, the Le Vine Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles and Supervising Curator for the Study Room, the glittering dresses and accessories “include styles from the glamorous to the revolutionary. Would you rather wear body-hugging sequins, sinuous lamé, or romantic ruffles? Or would you prefer to bare almost all in a dress made entirely of plastic discs?”