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Rare 1980s Maria di Sant’Elena – Firenze, Black Lace and sequined Gathered Skirt


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Product Description

Fabulous Lace 4 Panel skirt gathered to Black Silk Satin waistband. You could work the matching cummerbund belt in so many ways, at neck, as headband, round your wrist, whatever you like!Plain black panels are cotton Chantilly lace, front and back panels are cotton lace created with warm silver metal thread and black sequins, floral motifs are centred with Silver sequins. The lace throughout the skirt is soft and skin friendly. We believe that this could have been an overskirt/dress as the size label is missing.


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, Made in Italy

SIZE – Unsized

FABRIC/FIBRE/MATERIAL – Cotton lace, 100% silk satin ribbon, plastic sequins


COLOUR – Black and warm silver

DATE – 1980s

CLOSURE – Hook and eye (no Zip)

CONDITION – Very Good – No noticeable flaws



Waist 690mm 27.5”

Hip 1420mm 56”

Hemline 1820mm 72.5”

Length 620mm 24.5”

Waistband 250mm 1”

Back opening 130mm 5”

Belt total length 1270mm 50”

Belt centre lace panel 390mm 15” widest part 850mm 3.5” smallest part joining satin 40mm 1.5”