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Rare 1960s Maria di Sant’Elena – Firenze, Gold Lame Skirt & Embellishments


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Product Description

Extraordinary and Rare, this Lurex couture skirt is classic A Line. The fine lurex is textured with a subtle pattern emulating watered silk. Towards the hem, there are 4 hand appliqued embellishments at front and back seam lines and at sides. The construction is in 2 parts, cut without side seams. Waist band and Hem are trimmed with Silk satin braid in graduated ombre shades of chocolate to toffee to pale caramel. Fully lined with cream silk, original metal zipper sewn in by hand, handmade thread loop to secure waistband. Hand sewn hanging loops at waistband.


Maria Puddu, the designer originally from Sardinia who became part of Florentine fashion history with the brand Maria di Sant’Elena, met her future husband in Cagliari, Sardinia. He was attached to Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios and they soon moved to Florence where the Label was founded in 1965, continuing to 1987. In Florence, where Maria and her husband socialised with the Versilia Literati Set, the Label became well known for its couture designs. Maria di Sant’Elena was one of the early brands to show in the “Sala Bianca” at the Palazzo Pitti together with other Labels such as Sorelle Fontana and Valentino. These shows at the Sala Bianca were used to promote Italian Fashion to international buyers. We imagine that Maria’s American connections through her husband were very helpful.

Though it’s hard to imagine now, it wasn’t until the early 1960s that Italy began to be considered a capital of luxury fashion. In the years after WWII, Paris dominated, with buyers from around the globe making pilgrimages to there for the couture shows.

In 1951, a Florentine gentleman named Giovanni Battista Giorgini decided to take advantage of that, inviting buyers from American stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and I. Magnin to a catwalk show in his own Villa Torrigiani, featuring Italian designers. The show was a hit, and a year later, Giorgini moved Italy’s nascent fashion week to the opulent “white hall” in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. These were the legendary Sala Bianca shows.


LABEL – Maria di Sant’Elena – Firenze, Grey silk satin label

SIZE – 46 ( handwritten Italian label)

FABRIC/FIBRE/MATERIAL – Lurex, 100% silk habotai lining, silk satin ribbon



DATE – 1960s

CLOSURE –Zipper, hook and eye

CONDITION – Very Good – No noticeable flaws – Slight pull of Lurex in front of Skirt, but because of the Lurex pattern is not very visible



Waist 780mm 30.5”

Hip 1050mm 41.5”

Hemline 1200mm 47”

Length 6550mm 26”

Hem bandeau 60mm 2”

Embellishment height 160mm 6” width 250mm 1”

Waistband 250mm 1”

Zip length 160mm 6.5”